Clarence B. Jones
Respected lawyer, accomplished political consultant, experienced investment banker, and famed speechwriter, Clarence B. Jones' career has been as diverse as it has been historical. Born in 1931 in Philadelphia, Jones was brought up in a foster home and showed an early interest in his education. Following his graduation from high school, Jones attended Columbia University, but was soon drafted into the military and forced to put his education on hold. Discharged for refusing to sign a declaration stating that he had no ties to Communism, Jones returned to Columbia where he earned his degree and then chose to attend law school. After becoming a lawyer in the late 1950s, Jones worked on the legal team for Martin Luther King, Jr., which led to his subsequent position as King's speechwriter. A trusted advisor of King's, it was Jones who delivered the famed "Letter from Birmingham Jail" to the clergy in Birmingham in 1963 which attracted national attention following King's arrest. Although his service to Martin Luther King, Jr., and his assistance in drafting some of the most famed speeches given by the Civil Rights leader, including "I Have a Dream," Jones continued his own activist efforts following King's assassination. He even acted as a negotiator during the Attica Prison Riots in 1971. A passionate believer in civil rights and an undeniably capable businessman, lawyer, and activist, Clarence B. Jones has received multiple awards and distinctions for his works, including a Distinguished Public Service Award from two African American Chambers of Commerce and a Letter of Commendation from President Bill Clinton.
"Except for Abraham Lincoln and the Emancipation Proclamation of 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr., in 12 years and 4 months from 1956 to 1968, did more to achieve political, economic, and social justice in America than any other event or person in the previous 400 years."
Our People: Clarence B. Jones
Stanford Encyclopedia, Clarence B. Jones
Clarence B. Jones