James A. Jennings was born in Wynnewood, Oklahoma, in 1920. He is the great-great-grandson of Chickasaw leader Levi Colbert. Jennings was a proud member of the Chickasaw Nation and dedicated much of his life’s work to preserving the tribe's history.
He graduated from the school of law at Oklahoma City University and went on to serve as the legal counsel for Liberty National Bank for 20 years. Jennings had worked his way up to the position of senior vice president before retiring in 1986. During his career, he also worked as an adjunct professor of law at Oklahoma City University and as a teacher of commercial law at the American Institute of Banking and Oklahoma City Community College. During World War II, Jennings served in the United States Army Reserve, achieving the rank of lieutenant colonel.
James A. Jennings was proud of his Chickasaw ancestry, and was highly involved in historical and cultural affairs of the tribe during his lifetime. He wrote an extensive historical novel chronicling the relocation of his Chickasaw ancestors to Oklahoma in the 1830s.
James A. Jennings passed away on April 27, 1993, in Oklahoma City.