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Eugene Kinckle Jones
Eugene Kinckle Jones


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Jewel Eugene Kinckle Jones was born in Richmond, Virginia on July 30, 1884 His parents were outstanding educators His father Joseph Edom Jones was born of slave parents in Lynchburg, Virginia on October 15, 1850 and spent his childhood in a tobacco factory He received his early education from a private school taught by R A Perkins and James A Gregory (who later became dean of the college department of Howard University) In 1868, Joseph Jones entered the Richmond Institute (now Richmond Theological Seminary) with plans to prepare himself for the ministry After three years of study, he left Virginia for Hamilton, New York and entered the preparatory department of Madison University (now Colgate), from which he graduated in 1872 Mr.

Jones was then appointed by the American Baptist Home Mission Society of New York as an instructor at the Richmond Institute where he taught languages and philosophy, later Homiletics and Greek studies His pursuit of the ministry led to his ordination in 1977 He had been baptized in 1868 and was a member of the Court Street Baptist Church in Lynchburg Joseph Jones activity with the Baptist church was very involved He was a member of the Educational Board of the Virginia Baptist State Convention, Corresponding Secretary of the Baptist Foreign Mission Convention, and president of the Virginia Baptist Sunday School Union He was also editor of several publications including the Baptist Companion and The Companion Dr Joseph Jones was a sought after speaker Several degrees were conferred upon him by his alma mater and by Selma University in Alabama On June 22, 1882, Joseph Jones married Miss Rosa Daniel Kinckle also of Lynchburg, Virginia.

She was a graduate of the Normal Department of Howard University in 1880, and taught in the public schools for a period of time A trained musician since childhood, she had a voice of “unusual compass” and could perform the most difficult classical pieces Mrs Jones took a course in harmony at the New England Conservatory of Music She taught music, both vocal and piano, at Hartshorn Memorial College in Richmond She and her husband were the parents of two sons Joseph, Jr and Eugene Kinckle Jewel Jones attended Wayland Academy from 1899 to 1902 after which he entered Virginia Union University Academy Jones graduated in 1906 with a BA degree in Sociology In the fall of 1906, he enrolled at Cornell University College of Civil Engineering, at Ithaca, New York.

His first year, he excelled so exceptionally that he was excused from all of the mid year examinations He decided that engineering was not to be an appropriate course of study and changed to the field of social science with the view of practical social service as his life’s work In February of 1907, he changed to the Graduate School of the College of Arts of Science selecting Social Science as his major subject and Economics as his minor subject He was told that it would probably take two years for him to complete the requirements for a Master’s degree He completed fifty seven hours of course work and prepared a 172 page thesis in a year and half and received the degree in June, 1908 With the rigors of his academic schedule, he became endeared to this new organization known only as Alpha Phi Alpha Society in the fall of 1906 Jones had the occasion to meet the members of the Alpha Phi Alpha Society and received an invitation to join Lemuel Graves and Gordon Jones as the first initiates and witness this first display of African-American brotherhood They were treated to a series of dinner toasts and speeches Jones became actively involved in the young organization, joining the Committee of the Organization of the new fraternity He also worked on the Constitution Committee with Brothers Callis, Morton, Murray and Graves.

Brother Roscoe Giles recalled that Jones was an astute scholar and leader as well as mischievous, full of tricks, and fun He recalled the following: “Our landlady, Mrs Clara Nelson, sang in the local church choir…and her elderly husband was the minister…Mrs Nelson had the habit of singing every night when we were intent on studying, as a compensatory diversion Jones would start a game of whist and we would play until the distracting noise cleared No money or chips were used, but invariably Mrs Nelson would run upstairs, throw open our door without knocking and announce she did not allow card playing in her house One day Jones called all the freshmen to his room When we got inside he locked the door, then without batting an eye told us to remove all our clothing.

Being an upper and under the duress of some threatening gestures of his roommate Tandy, we reluctantly complied Then Jones has us sit at the card table and dealt the cards He then stealthily unlocked the door, and with as much noise as he could make with high pitched voice, he cried out, Don t you dare cut my Ace With her accustomed alacrity, Mrs Nelson ran upstairs and under the force of her momentum, before she could draw up, she was in the center of the room with all of us clad in our birthday suits She backed out of the room and never bothered us again” In the fall of 1907, Jewel Jones and the Chapter met in the room he shared with Vertner Woodson Tandy to make plans for the new year Jones was elected the second President of Alpha Chapter after running against Henry Arthur Callis When plans were made for the second initiation at the home of Rose Cohan on West Mill Street in Ithaca, Jewel Jones spoke on the subject “Alpha Phi Alpha” Plans were made to acquire pins and a second committee was made up of Jewel Jones, Gordon Jones and Lemuel Graves.

Jones also joined the Constitution Committee When the first ritual was lost in the fall of 1907, President Jones wrote one from memory with the assistance of Brother Callis On January 18, 1908, Jones was elected as a trustee for the incorporation papers One of the major discussions of Jones’s administration was the admission of other organizations or members to become a part of the Fraternity Jones accepted the chapter mandate to serve as a delegate to represent the chapter at the installation of a chapter at Howard University Jones went off to make Beta Chapter at Howard in Washington, DC As Wesley states, he was assisted by Jewel Murray to set up the chapter during the holidays Jones then traveled to Washington took a train home to Richmond, Virginia While there, he set up Gamma chapter at Virginia Union University.

Not soon afterwards, Jones and Tandy jumped into his car and went to Toronto, Canada Over the Easter holidays they made Delta Chapter; however, it was without the approval of Alpha Chapter They had met with the eight gentlemen and found them qualified to be initiated Given financial restraints which would prevent them from following the usual procedures of going back to get consent from Alpha Chapter then returning, they performed the chartering When he returned to Cornell, the other members of Alpha Chapter had decided to expel him from the Fraternity for insubordination The night for the proposed expulsion came and according to Giles “everyone sat around grim faced” Jones got up to explain his actions He said, “Why I even made an African Prince, Robert M Mahlangan, a member” Brother Roscoe Giles recalled that while pronouncing the prince’s name, Jones screwed his mouth to one side and made an almost distinguishable sound similar to that of a duck.

The chapter was so overwhelmed with laughter that instead of expulsion, they gave him a rising vote of thanks At the end of the school year, under President Jones’s administration, there were three additional chapters When the constitution was written, it stated that after the fourth chapter was formed we were to have a general convention That would be the goal of the next administration as Jones graduated from Cornell in 1908 with a MA degree in Sociology However, at the first General Convention of the Fraternity, on the campus of Howard University, Jewel Jones was present and delivered an address of greeting Not soon after the first General Convention, Jewel Jones married Blanche Ruby Watson on March 11, 1909 and two children were born: Eugene, Jr in 1910, who became a prominent lawyer, and Adele Rosa(Pean) in 1911, who became a social worker after completing her studies at the University of Michigan The Joneses resided in Flushing, New York His son Eugene, Jr attended Cornell University like his father and was also a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity.

Eugene, Jr was the father of two, a son Dr Vann Kinckle Jones, a podiatrist and a daughter Betty Jones Dowling, a retired librarian Known by friends and family as “Gene” and “Kinckle”, Jewel Jones loved playing bid whist and the game of tennis He served as treasurer of the American Tennis Association for twelve years He was very active in many social and civic organizations including the Flushing Educational Committee; former chairman of the Harlem s Boys Scouts’ Advisory Committee of the Boy Scouts of America; Vice President of the National Conference on Social Work; Chairman of the Harlem Adult Education Committee; a trustee of Virginia Union University; and member of the Board of Directors of the Encyclopedia of the Negro to name a few Jewel Jones served as an instructor at the State University in Louisville from 1909-1909 and taught classes in English and mathematics The following year, he transferred to Central High school where he was general assistant, substituting in several classes of English and even teaching mechanical drawing, handling over one hundred and twenty boys in three different classes He also assisted with the coaching of baseball, basketball, football and track He also occasionally umpired and refereed many of the games.

He remained at Central until April of 1911 While there, he assisted in the formation of the Alpha Lambda Chapter, the first graduate chapter, on April 11, 1911 The chapter was organized out of a club of young college men who were known as the University Club Jones pushed hard to have this chapter formed and recognized by the General Organization, and kept the group together until it was approved by the Fraternity He went to New York City in April of 1911, on one year’s leave of absence granted by the Superintendent of the Louisville Public School, to take the position of field secretary of the Committee on Urban Conditions Among Negroes This organization would subsequently consolidate with other organizations to form the present National League of Urban Conditions Among Negroes known as the National Urban League The activities of the league included: Traveler’s aid work; Big Brothers and Big Sisters; Juvenile Court cases; Delinquency; Employment and Job opportunities; better health and housing campaigns; training of social workers; establishment of neighborhood welfare organizations; and the investigation of general and specific conditions as well as the agencies needed to improve these conditions Jones’s early work with the League consisted of a survey of the African-American community in New York In 1913, he arranged the first meeting of African-American leaders with Samuel Gompers and the American Federation of Labor He guided the League’s endorsement of organized labor.

In 1916, during his work with the National Urban League, he attended the Ninth Annual Convention at Virginia Union University, his Alma Mater He delivered the Alumni Address He rose to the position of Executive Secretary of the National Urban League and had a budget of $2500 By the 1920's, he had organized offices in forty cities and his budget had increased to a million dollars The organization also published a magazine, Opportunity Jewel Jones received a LLD from Virginia Union University, where his father was on the faculty Shortly afterwards, his father, the Rev Dr.

Joseph E Jones died on October 14, 1920 Rev Jones was professor of Church Polity and Homiletics On the death of his father, the Fifth “Annual Report of the National Baptist Convention” said, “No man in his generation inspired more ministers to educate themselves, and more churches to help in the education of preachers than he” So concerned was Jewel Jones about the perception of the welfare of African-Americans, he along with thirty four other persons created and signed an “Appeal to America Against Making the Negro a Political Issue in 1928” Some of the signers included RR Moton, principal of Tuskegee; WEB.

DuBois, editor of Crisis magazine, James Weldon Johnson, secretary of the NAACP; and Mary McLeod Bethune, president, Bethune Cookman College By 1930, the National Urban League was recognized as one of the most significant forces in American life It’s influence was felt wherever there were problems of racial adjustment between whites and African Americans Through the efforts of Jewel Jones and his staff, social problems of Negroes were lifted into the realm of science and research Many young men and women began to find opportunities in the field of social work During the New Deal era, much would change for the cause of African-Americans, and Jewel Eugene Kinckle Jones would play an pertinent role in that process In 1932, he was appointed by President Franklin Delanor Roosevelt as a member of his “black” cabinet, also known as the “kitchen cabinet” Jewel Jones served as an advisor of Negro Affairs in the Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce with the Department of Commerce between 1933-1937 At the 1936 Pan Pacific Convention in Los Angeles, Jewel Jones spoke on the subject “Alpha Phi Alpha’s Opportunity in the Negro s Struggle for Status” at the Memorial Service Address One newspaper reporter said that his message “was the most definite course for the Negro to pursue in his economic, business, social and civic life that has been heard from a local platform in many years.

” Jones also served on the Fair Employment Board of the United States Civil Service Commission in 1948 As the Executive Director of the National Urban League, Jewel Jones would write a letter to the Fraternity each year requesting a contribution to the league He served as Executive Secretary for over forty years In 1921, President William Harding wrote: “The National Urban League has been particularly useful in its contribution towards the solution of the problem of races in the United States, because it has sought to secure the cooperation of leading people of both races in attacking these problems” Under Jewel Jones direction at the National Urban League, over 200,000 African-American workers were placed in positions, a stellar and remarkable accomplishment In 1926, he recognized other organizations governed by multi-racial boards and maintained a Department of Research and Investigation with Brother Charles S Johnson (Editor of Opportunity) as Director and a Department of Industrial Relations The National Urban League was not just a job for Jewel Jones, it was a passion He befriended poet and author Bro Countee Cullen and later negotiated the purchase by the New York Public Library’s Schomburg Collection of African-American Life and Literature.

During the depression years he influenced the federal government to increase aid to, those in dire need In 1934, Jewel Jones was chosen as a member of the New York State Planning Board by Governor Lehman As a member of this board, he aided in plotting and developing long range plans for New York Jewel Jones was a workaholic In March of 1939, his physical health declined and he became seriously ill He remained inactive with the National Urban League for the remainder of the year Jesse O Thomas took his place as acting Executive Director until Jewel Jones s return during the start of 1940 At the time of his retirement in 1950, the National Urban League had fifty eight affiliates in twenty nine states, a staff of 399 and a budget of $15 million dollars.

Jewel Jones remarked about his retirement and the progress of race relations he witnessed in his lifetime: “Much of it resulted not from mass pressure or political compromise, but from logic, understanding, goodwill and common sense I truly believe that it is economically and socially better to treat people fairly, and it is possible to convince others of that” The last three years of his life were filled with long overdue recognition from the Fraternity for his role in its organization The Gamma Iota Lambda Chapter in Brooklyn paid tribute to Jewel Jones upon his retirement from the National Urban League But it was the action of the convention in 1952, that would change the course of Alpha’s history and bestow upon Jewel Jones a unique distinction On December 30, 1952, at the 38th General Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, during the presidency of Brother A Maceo Smith, a special committee consisting of founders Nathaniel Allison Murray, George Biddle Kelley, Henry Arthur Callis and Historian Charles H Wesley met to discuss the placement of the seventh founder of the fraternity The committee submitted the following: .



 
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