A Montgomery, Alabama, native and University of Alabama graduate, James T. (Tommy) Black worked for six years as a reporter and feature writer for the Birmingham News and for more than 40 years as a writer and editor for Southern Living magazine. In his years with Southern Living, Tommy planned, researched, and wrote articles ranging from the history of flight in the South to Mardi Gras in New Orleans. In addition to working as a writer and editor with the magazine's Travel Department, he also supervised the production of more than 300 articles a year as director of the Travel Department. He helped create the magazine's state-specific Living sections, and was editor of Soul of the South, a special section dedicated to the region's music and musicians. In 2013 he left the magazine to form his own company, T. Black Publishing, which provides content for books, magazines, and websites.
Tommy is married to Patricia Butterworth Black, a native of Fairhope, Alabama. They have two children, Emma Black Pathasema and Sarah Black, and two grandchildren, James and Matthew Pathasema, all of Birmingham.