Johnson C. Smith University remembers J. Charles Jones

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Photo of Joseph Charles Jones Sr. ’58

Charlotte, N.C./Jan. 17, 2020 – Our hearts and prayers go out to the friends and loved ones of alumnus Joseph Charles Jones Sr. ’58, who died at the age of 82 December 27, 2019.

Jones, known as an activist and pillar in the Charlotte community, led more than 200 JCSU students in protests for racial segregation in the Queen City during February 1960 by staging a series of sit-ins at uptown establishments. He even served hard time after an arrest for trespassing while trying to integrate an all-white lunch counter in nearby Rock Hill, SC. 

Jones’ leadership influenced a number of alumni, including second-term Charlotte City Council member Malcom Graham ’85.

“To walk the same path as Jones and many other alumni who fought for equality and justice for all made each and every one of us dig deeper and aspire to create positive change for our campus and communities,” Graham emphasized.

Jones served his alma mater as a campus leader and active participant in student government, which led to his involvement in the national student political movement of the 1960s. 

Jones later moved to the Biddleville community adjacent to the University where he organized the Biddleville/Smallwood/Five Points Neighborhood Association, and remained an active and engaged advocate for his beloved community until his death.

“His legacy inspired me to seek a career in elective office, to bring about meaningful change in Charlotte and to continue the legacy of JCSU alumni being actively involved in the political process,” Graham added.

Funeral services were held for Jones at Jane M. Smith Memorial Church on the campus of Johnson C. Smith University January 4, 2020.

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