J. Charles Jones

Letter of Condolance, SNCC Legacy Project (SLP)


As remembered by Betty Garman
December 28, 2019

I was saddened early this am when I read that Charlie Jones had passed through Google Alerts. I remember his energy and his passion for organizing! I especially remember a workshop — I think at the 50th — but maybe the 40th? — when he was doing nonviolent direct action workshops for young people. His energy was amazing and he had the young people mesmerized with his charisma.


As remembered by Karen Spellman
December 28, 2019

Wow, this is so unexpected and so sad. Charles was such a unique and energetic Freedom Fighter. I was inspired by his total commitment to the Movement. He always bought a special joy to any of our gatherings. He was a dear and gentle spirit and will never be forgotten.


As remembered by Joyce Ladner
December 28, 2019

Another SNCC man done gone. Charlie Jones has joined the ancestors. I met Charles around 1962. I remember that he was one of a handful of students who were in divinity school when he joined the movement. Others included John Lewis, Paul Brooks and Charles Sherrod. They were among the earliest group of young enlightened preachers I met who had a passion for justice and equality. We cannot forget Charless beautiful voice when he sang freedom songs. May he rest in power.


As remembered by Dorie Ladner
December 29, 2019

I just woke up , and read the news about Dear Charlie Jones.

I met him in Atlanta around fall of 1962, along with Bevel, Sherrod, Lafayette, Cordell Rutha, and Bernice. The SNCC office was on Auburn. The singing was an experience that truly touched my spirit , unlike the Baptist church that I grew up in. Some of the songs made reference to the Bible and Freedom. The young men, I learned were ministers. They were eloquent and enlightening about the Black community.

I went to Atlanta with Bob Moses, Curtis Hayes, Mandy McNair, Hollis Watkins, Lawrence Guyot, and Charles McLaurin. In one of those piece of cars from Mississippi. The car started to run hot a few miles outside of Atlanta. One of the white male attendants came immediately to our car with a car tool in his hand threatening Bob and the guys presence on the gas station property.

Bob and all of the guys refused to leave. I sat in the car ready to spring into action, if threatned. The situation calmed down, and the repairs we're completed and the Bill was paid. I was most impressed by the malnourished, broken teeth, sallow tobacco-chewing aggressive younger man. I felt that he was very angry about being poor, and was taking his frustrations out on us.

The 1962 celebration with the SNCC staff fueled my spirit more when I listened to their stories about sitting in at Woolworths lunch counter and in some instances, jail and no bail And the Movement organizing with concept of the Beloved Community.

We from Mississippi had been engaged in community organizing on Plantations trying to get the black citizens registered. It was dangerous and rewarding . Blacks were mobilized and taken to couthouses. They were denied, beaten and jailed.. This did not stop them. Upon returning to Mississippi, I felt a sense of renewal and self determination for my rights.

I did see Charles @ Shaw. He was in a very good mood. And talking He could always give you an earful (smile)


As remembered by Timothy Jenkins

When The Roll Is Called Up Yonder


In the sixties as Vice President of the Inited States National Student Association, it was my role to act as liaison between NORTHERN college campuses and SNCC to improve on the abstraction of the southern sit-in movement in humanly recognized terms. Accordingly it was my task to present northern students with real examples of human fortitude and purpose among the demonstrating college students to enable them to be seen as flesh and blood behind the headlines. This led me to design a stock speech called "The Three Charles" fashioned around my SNCC buddies,Chuck McDew,Charles Sherrod and Charlie Jones.Each of them very different in personality, background and temperament that gave me ideal characters to make my point that the SNCC purpose was greater than personalty in the service of truth.

I was therefore at especially great pains when characterizing Charlie Jones, because he defied being stereotyped. His father had groomed him to be a preacher. But his appetite was greater than that and he had seen too clearly the clay feet of other pulpit celebrates to want follow in their paths.No Charlie's appetite was bigger than self aggrandizement. On more than one occasion l witnessed his bitter tears at having been betrayed at the hands of greedy self seekers and sell outs.

Now I will remember him for his eloquence without the necessity of lengthy preparation,l will remember him for his courage to say no to the best of his friends when he considered them in err.and l will remember him for admitting his own errors without hesitation whenever warranted.

All this made him an exceptional human-being in my sight if not yet in the sight of man!

His tears were always for others but never for himself.

Greatness comes in small packages without a label calling for "fragile"or "a need for special handling" .

It has been my honor to have been Charles Joseph Jones' buddy and him mine.

Timothy Jenkins, a fellow seeker along the way. Forgive any typos, but My pain could not allow delay to be correct at the expense of being timely.


As remembered by Sharlene Kranz
January 2, 2020

I was fortunate to work the Charlie Jones in ACCESS: Action Coordinating Committee to End Segregation in the Suburbs. ACCESS was organized in mid-1966 by an assortment of DC suburbanites working to end housing segregation in the towns surrounding the Nation's Capitol. We hired Charlie, a SNCC veteran and a Howard U. law school student, to be our executive director. He immediately brought his creative and innovative ideas for organizing to our efforts.

For example, James Meredith was shot on his Mississippi march on June 6, 1966. Charlie took the idea of a highway march and came up with the idea of walking the 64 miles of the Capitol Beltway, making it a symbol of the 'noose of segregation' surrounding DC. He began the Beltway march on June 8, 1966. The march took 4 days, and each day more and more people joined him. The marchers stayed in local churches every night with a rally.

One of the things ACCESS focused on was the fact that African-American soldiers stationed on bases in the DC suburbs had trouble finding off-base apartments for their families, because of the segregated housing. The Defense Department was paying housing allowances to segregated off-base apartments. We focused on that issue in 1967-68. Charlie eventually negotiated one-on-one with Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, in the Pentagon, and convinced McNamara to declare off-limits segregated off-base apartments. This victory is well-documented.

Happily, ACCESS was put out of business by the passage of the federal Fair Housing Act of 1968.

Charlie Jones' creativity, energy, and passion was striking and inspiring.


As remembered by Casey Hayden

January 4, 2020

Thank you and thanks to Tim for the lovely eulogy. I remember Charlie well from those early days in SNCC, always kind and always ready. I'm grateful to have known him.

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