As remembered by
SNCC Legacy Project
October 15, 2018
Remembering Cornelius J. Jones
August 12, 1944 - October 11, 2018
Cornelius J. Jones was born in Clarksville, Pennsylvania and dedicated his life to empowering others. While a student at Tuskegee University, CJ, as he was affectionately known, was an economics major and became involved in the Civil Rights Movement. While there, CJ participated in the organizing of the Lowndes County Christian Movement for Human Rights. In addition, CJ was one of the organizers of the 1965 Selma to Montgomery March. CJ and was one of those who heeded the call to participate in the 1966 Meredith March Against Fear in Mississippi.
After his participation in the Movement for Human Rights, CJ spent most of his life as a community organizer. From 1973 to 1977, CJ served as the Youth Director for the Federation of Southern Cooperatives. After his service with the Federal of Southern Cooperatives, he spent 10 years with the Mendenhall Ministries as an administrator.
During the 90s, CJ began work with the Voice of Calvary Ministries (VOCM) as the Director of Development. From 2001 to 2004, CJ served as President and CEO of the Mississippi Action for Community Education (MACE). He returned to the VOCM and served as the Chief Operating and Financial Officer of its Calvary Family Health Center. In 2005, CJ began his service as the Outreach Coordinator/Liaison to the Umbrella of Churches in the New Initiatives Department of VOCM.
CJ was honored in 2017 by the Veterans of the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement (VMCRM) and shared why he got involved in the Civil Rights Movement.
"I did not realize the terror that Blacks lived under until I came south from New Jersey in the early 60s. I discovered that they actually lived under the threat of death on a daily basis. It was after this realization that I got involved with SNCC at Tuskegee University. Through my involvement with SNCC, I had the privilege of meeting and talking with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I also met my two best friends, Wendell Paris and Bob Mants, who were active in the Movement. I participated in organizing the Lowndes County Christian Movement for Human Rights, an independent party created to help get Black folks elected to public office. It was an unforgettable experience election night of 1966 when Black folks were elected to public office for the first time in Lowndes County, Alabama."
CJ is survived by his loving wife Esta Camper Jones of 23 years. Also mourning his passing are his three children, Tchalla Jones Jerido, Tiombe Jones and Tene Jones; three step-children; three grandchildren; a great niece; and a special niece, Sameerah Johnson. He will also be missed by his fellow Movement veterans and his many friends.
As remembered by Courtland Cox
October 11, 2018
He was a good friend and he worked for some time in Lowndes County and then traveled to Mississippi.
As remembered by Valinda Brown
October 11, 2018
He and Ed were close and whenever he visited us it was a pleasure.