Valley native set to receive highest honor from NAACP - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Valley native set to receive highest honor from NAACP

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Hon. Nathaniel Jones Hon. Nathaniel Jones

A Youngstown native will be receiving the highest honor from the NAACP.

The Honorable Nathaniel R. Jones will receive the Spingarn Medal at the upcoming NAACP convention, which will recognize him for his achievements in both the U.S. and South Africa.

The NAACP says Jones played an important role in furthering the abolition of apartheid in South Africa. The drafters of South Africa’s new constitution and laws consulted him, and he conferred with Nelson Mandela upon Mandela’s release from 27 years of imprisonment.

Jones attended Youngstown public schools and is a 1951 and 1955 Youngstown State University alum.

Before being appointed to the United States Court of Appeals in 1979, Jones held several other positions in Ohio.

After graduating from YSU, he served three years as the Executive Director of the Fair Employment Practices Commission of the City of Youngstown.

Then, he opened a private practice, and a year later was appointed as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio in Cleveland.

In 1967 he served as Assistant General Counsel to President Johnson’s National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, also known as the Kerner Commission.

In 1969, Judge Jones assumed the responsibility as general counsel of the NAACP, which he held for 10 years.

In 1979, President Carter announced his intention to appoint Jones to the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Jones took his oath of office on October 15, 1979.

Jones served on the Court of Appeals for more than 20 years, and retired in 2002.

Following his retirement, Jones assumed a position as Of Counsel with Blank Rome LLP. From December 2006 through June 2011, he served as the firm’s first Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer.

He serves as honorary co-chair and director of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati.

He serves as a member of the KnowledgeWorks Foundation Board of Trustees, a member of several other boards and participates in a variety of other activities.

Judge Jones served as a member of the Toyota Motor Manufacturing North America, Inc. Diversity Advisory Board, and was U.S. Co-Chair for the 2012 WorldChoir Games.

He has taught at several law schools throughout the United States and is the holder of 19 honorary degrees.

In 2003, Congress passed a resolution that officially named the Nataniel R. Jones Federal Building & United States Courthouse in Youngstown.

In 2014, the Nathaniel R. Jones American Inn of Court was charted in Youngstown.

Jones has authored numerous articles and papers and has been the recipient of many honors and awards, including:

  • the International Freedom Conductor Award from the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center;
  • the Pillar of Justice Award from the Federal Bar Association;
  • the Governor’s Humanitarian Award from the Ohio Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Commission;
  • the Changing the Odds Award from the Children’s Defense Fund;
  • the Charles Hamilton Houston Medallion of Merit from the Washington Bar Association and Washington Bar Association Educational Foundation, Inc.;
  • induction into the Ohio Civil Rights Hall of Fame;
  • Youngstown State University’s Friend of the University Award;
  • Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.’s Laurel Wreath Award;
  • the American Lawyer’s Lifetime Achievement Award;
  • the Just The Beginning Foundation’s Trailblazer Award;
  • the Annual Fellows Award from the American Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division;
  • the Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund Award of Excellence;
  • the Ohio Bar Medal from the Ohio State Bar Association;
  • being honored by radio station WCIN and The Fifth Third Bank as one of “The Fifty Most Influential Blacks in Cincinnati in the Last Half Century”;
  • Professionalism Award for the Sixth Circuit by the American Inns of Court;
  • the Thurgood Marshall Award from the National Bar Association’s Judicial Council;
  • induction into the National Bar Association Hall of Fame;
  • the Millennium International Volunteer Award from the United States Department of State;
  • and recognition by the Chamber of Commerce as one of the “Great Living Cincinnatians.”

Jones will receive the Spingarn Medal at the NAACP convention in Cincinatti on July 20.

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