Rev. Dr. William Augustus Jones, Jr. Exhibit At Brooklyn College Library

Brooklyn College Library Presents Reverend Dr. William Augustus Jones: A Man of Words and Action (1934 – 2006) ~ Exhibit on Display September 23 - November 30, 2008
Reverend Dr. William Augustus Jones
Reverend Dr. William Augustus Jones
Sept. 24, 2008 - PRLog -- Hundreds of family members, friends, and colleagues gathered tonight at Brooklyn College for a special opening reception of “Reverend Dr. William Augustus Jones: A Man of Words and Action,” a new exhibit chronicling the life and work of Dr. Jones, a nationally respected and passionate leader in the civil rights movement, Baptist preacher, activist, author, professor, and long-serving pastor at Brooklyn’s Bethany Baptist Church.  The program took place in the Woody Tanger Auditorium in the Brooklyn College Library.

Speakers at the program included Brooklyn College Provost William A. Tramontano; and Lynda Day, of the Africana Studies Department at Brooklyn College.  Following the program, there was a reception and viewing of the exhibit in the Special Collections section of the Library. Students, faculty, community members and researchers will have access to this vast body of work that chronicles Dr. Jones’ importance as a spiritual and civic leader.  

Dr. Jones’ influence reached across the globe, but was most notably felt in the Brooklyn community where he served as Pastor at the Bethany Baptist Church for 43 years. The collection, donated to the College by the Jones family after his death in February 2006, includes photos, manuscripts, letters, news clips, notes, diaries, sermons, press releases, course syllabi, telegrams, an assortment of religious publications, audio and videotapes and Jones’ thesis.

“Brooklyn College is proud to be home to the archives of William Augustus Jones,” said Brooklyn College President Christoph M. Kimmich.  “An important 20th century civil rights advocate, an educator, and spiritual leader, Dr. Jones influenced a wide audience, most notably those here in Brooklyn.  It is fitting that this collection resides at Brooklyn College, where we are shaping future leaders everyday.  Dr. Jones has inspired millions across the globe and, through this collection, his legacy will live on.”

“Rev. William Jones was a premier example of the many “Men of Words” who have unified and lead African American communities with their strength of faith and ability to inspire,” said Professor Lynda Day of the Africana Studies Department at Brooklyn College.  “Beyond bringing independent and morally sound leadership to community organizing for economic self-help, he brought his personal, pastoral support to the families in his congregation and younger “Men of Words” who benefited from his guidance and training.  This collection records more than 40 years at the center of the spiritual and political life of African-Americans in Brooklyn and the nation.”

“My family and I are deeply appreciative of Brooklyn College for honoring the legacy of my father with the establishment of the William Augustus Jones, Jr. Archives,” said Jennifer Jones Austin, the youngest of Dr. Jones’ four children and Senior Vice President at United Way.  “The Archives exhibit tells the inspiring story of the life and work of Dr. Jones in Brooklyn and beyond.  We applaud Brooklyn College for their commitment to recognizing and celebrating the work of one of our most influential community members during the second half of the 20th century.”

William Jones attended the University of Kentucky graduating with honors in sociology. He also attended Crozer Theological Seminary earning a divinity degree and received his doctorate from Colgate Rochester Divinity School.  Jones– the son and grandson of Baptist ministers – served for 43 years as the revered pastor of Brooklyn’s Bethany Baptist Church, in the Black working class neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant.  His radio and television broadcasts, “The Bethany Hour,” stirred communities all over the country with their messages of hope and action.

Dr. Jones also served as Chairman of Greater New York Operation Breadbasket, an affiliate of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), founded by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  He succeeded Reverend Jesse Jackson as National Chairman of Operation Breadbasket, and was President of the Progressive National Baptist Convention.  Reverend Jones also is credited with recruiting Al Sharpton as a youth leader in Operation Breadbasket, and in 1994, baptized Reverend Sharpton as a Baptist. In addition, Dr. Jones founded the National Black Pastors’ Conference, an interdenominational gathering of Black clergy, and was a member of the General Council of the Baptist World Alliance.  

Dr. Jones wrote several books and received numerous awards and honors for his work.  While his main focus was preaching the gospel, he worked to improve the economic conditions for the Black community and became an influential figure in the civil and human rights movements.  

The public is invited to explore this vast collection of one of the most important spiritual, civil rights and civic leaders of the 20th Century.   For more information, contact Brooklyn College Archives and Special Collections at the Brooklyn College Library at (718) 951-5346.

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ABOUT BROOKLYN COLLEGE: Founded in 1930, Brooklyn College is one of the eleven senior colleges of the City University of New York. The College ranks in the top ten nationally in Princeton Review's 2006 guidebook, America's Best Value Colleges.  The four-year liberal arts college is located on a twenty-six-acre campus in the most dynamic New York City borough.  The Princeton Review's 2003 edition of The Best 345 Colleges named Brooklyn College the "Most Beautiful Campus" for its Georgian-style buildings and landscaped Quadrangle.  The College enrolls 15,000 undergraduate and graduate students who are representative of the ethnic and cultural diversity of Brooklyn and New York City.  Respected nationally for its rigorous academic standards, Brooklyn College takes pride in such innovative programs as its core curriculum, the Honors Academy, and The On-Course Advantage (TOCA).  Visit the College Web site at

ABOUT BETHANY BAPTIST CHURCH: Bethany Baptist Church, located at 460 Marcus Garvey Boulevard in the heart of the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, NY, is a Christ-centered, community-conscious house of worship. Celebrating 125 years as one of the world's pre-eminent centers of Baptist life, Bethany has enriched the spiritual lives of countless people from around the globe.  Under the leadership of the Reverend Dr. David A. Hampton, worship services are held Sundays at 8:00 am and 11:00 am, as well as throughout the week. For more information, contact Bethany Baptist Church at (718) 455-8400.
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Page Updated Last on: Sep 24, 2008
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