Wendell Reed was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1971. He was raised in James Weldon Johnson Homes, which is located between Ridge Avenue Diamond Street and between 25th and 29th Streets in North Philadelphia. His father, Reginald Sterling Reed, was a naval officer and his mother Joan Vernell, was a school teacher. James attended Catholic school as a youth and joined the military as a young man. He made several attempts to become a police officer. He took the police test in Philadelphia in 1989 but due to a freeze on hiring in the city was unable to get a position. He was hired as a police officer in Atlanta, Georgia in 2000 but returned to Philadelphia for family reasons. Wendell worked periodically as a school police officer in Philadelphia schools. At the time of the interview, Wendell was working as a Deputy Chief in the Borough of Colwyn, Pennsylvania. His wife Gennifer and he have three children. They live in Philadelphia a few blocks away from LaSalle University, in the Germantown area.
Reed, Wendell and O'Conner, Nadirah, "Interview of Wendell Reed" (2012). All Oral Histories. Paper 12.
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