Note: The following memorial was published online with the Nov. 13, 2013, issue.
James Anthony Breaux, known as James Breaux during his Princeton years, but know later in life as Tony, came to Princeton from Gary, Ind.
Tony entered Princeton with the Class of ’72 but graduated with the Class of ’73. Tony died in May 1995 while in Surulere Lagos, Nigeria.
A sociology major, Tony engaged socially and politically far beyond the classroom and the University. During the spring of 1969, Tony was one of the leaders of Association of Black Cololegians who occupied New South in protest of the University’s investments in South Africa. In 1970, anticipating the emergence of global concerns, Tony helped lead black and Latino students to raise the need for a “Third World Center” (a place for diverse students to gather and address global power issues) with President Robert Goheen ’40 *48. This “Third World Center” concept eventually evolved into the present-day Carl Fields Center at Princeton. Always a visionary social activist and internationalist, Tony was also an avid photographer and a member of the US delegation to the Festival of Arts and Culture in Lagos Nigeria in 1977.
After Princeton, Tony earned an MBA from Fairfield University and worked at General Motors from 1977-85. Tony worked in the public-relations department providing support for the zone agents for the Middle East region, which included plants in apartheid South Africa. During his tenure at GM, he was directed to lead a public-relations campaign to support General Motors’ policy of “constructive engagement” with the apartheid government. When Tony refused the assignment, he was fired from General Motors. For Tony, a moral stand was always more important than the next promotion or raise. As part of his termination agreement with General Motors, GM provided him with the capital he needed to establish his international consulting business in Geneva, Switzerland.
In 1985 Tony moved to Geneva, where he lived until his death. Tony developed an international-consulting business, focused on business opportunities in the Middle East and Africa. According to State Department records, during one of his many business trips to Africa, Tony was kidnapped and then murdered. He will be forever missed by his Princeton friends, family, and others who came to know him during his foreshortened life.