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Clarence B. Jones    

Former Adviser and Speechwriter for Martin Luther King Jr.

Dr. Jones is currently a Visiting Professor, University of San Francisco and a Scholar Writer in Residence, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Research & Education Institute, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA.

In a distinguished and heralded career, Clarence B. Jones served as political advisor, counsel and draft speechwriter for the Reverend Dr, Martin Luther King, Jr., joined Sanford I. Weill and Arthur Levitt, Jr. in Carter, Berlind & Weill, Inc. as an Allied Member of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), becoming the first African American partner in a Wall Street investment banking firm, has been twice recognized as Fortune Magazines Business Man of the Month, and founded successful financial, corporate and media-related ventures. He has also provided strategic legal and financial consulting services to several governments around the world including The Bahamas, The Dominican Republic, Jamaica, and Zambia.

Dr. Jones has received numerous state and national awards recognizing his significant contributions to American society. Through his work in the civil rights movement, he has dramatically impacted the course of American history. He coordinated the legal defense of Dr. King and the other leaders of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference against the libel suits filed against them and The New York Times by the police commissioner and other city officials of Birmingham, AL. The Supreme Court ruling in this case Sullivan vs. The New York Times resulted in the landmark decision on the current law of libel. In April 1963, he drafted the settlement agreement between the City of Birmingham and Martin Luther King, Jr. to bring about the end of demonstrations and the desegregation of department stores and public accommodations.

In August 1963, he assisted Dr. King in the drafting of his celebrated I Have A Dream speech that he delivered at the March On Washington, August 28th 1963. In September 1971, he again found himself at the center of history-in-the-making when, at the request of Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller; he was requested to help negotiate an end to the historic Attica prison inmate rebellion.

Dr. Jones has been the subject of numerous television and radio interview programs, appearing in such notable media vehicles as CNN, The OReilly Factor, The Tavis Smiley Show, NY1s One-on-One with Budd Mishkin, NPR radio, BBC UK and feature in articles in the Washington Post, Ebony and Jet Magazines and several publications in the UK, France, and Ireland.

A much requested speaker, he has addressed corporate audiences at Citigroup and the U.S. headquarters of British Petroleum, GE, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney and Google headquarters and laws firms such as Sullivan &Cromwell and Andrews Kurth, Texas. He was the featured speaker at a Stanford University-wide lecture commemorating the 78th birthday Celebration of Dr. King delivered to faculty and students at Stanford during Black History Month (an event which was broadcast live to local radio stations throughout the Bay Area), the Rutgers University School of Law, The Sciences Po, Paris, and The American Institute at Oxford University, The British Library, the Bristol Book Fair, the Aye Write Book Fair in Glasgow. He has spoken at Veterans Administrations Hospitals, The California African-American Association of School Superintendents, the New York Public Library, the NYC 92nd Street Y, the New Albany Community Foundation, Columbus, OH.

Dr. Jones has served on the prestigious boards of The Impact Repertory Theater & Dance Co. and The Theatre Development Fund NYC, the Franklin & Eleanor Roosevelt Institute in Hyde Park, NY.

He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Columbia College, Columbia University as well as a Juris Doctor degree from Boston Universitys School of Law and a Certificate from The New York Institute of Finance and the NASD for his Allied Membership in the NYSE. Additionally, he has an Honorary Doctorate in Communications from Allegheny College in Allegheny, PA, Honorary Doctorates of Humane Letters, Drew University, Madison, NJ, Lincoln University, PA and the University of San Francisco.

Dr. Jones completed teaching for the second time his successful course, From Slavery to Obama, at Stanford Universitys School of Continuing Studies Master of Liberal Arts Program. Fall Semester 2012 he taught a reconfigured version of the same course, for 15 weeks, to undergraduates in the College of Arts & Sciences, University of San Francisco, as its First Diversity Scholar Visiting Professor. Commencing May 2013, at USF, Dr. Jones will teach a graduate course on The Art of Advocacy Speech Writing.

He is co-author of WHAT WOUD MARTIN SAY? 2008, BEHIND THE DREAM-The Making of the Speech That Transformed A Nation, 2011 and an E-book, UPRISING: Understanding Attica, Revolution and the Incarceration State. Dr. Jones posts a regular column in the Huffington Post. He is also writing his autobiography: A Pencil and Dollar Bill- Memoirs From An African-American Journey From the Depression to The Election of Barack Obama as President of the United States.

Speech Topics


The 21st Century Challenge of the Legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr. was the 20th century's pre-eminent apostle of non-violence and the pursuit of justice. From Dr. King's beautifully illustrated philosophies in his 1963 Letter From A Birmingham Jail to the powerful "I Have A Dream" speech, Jones’ finds that 50 years later, the same challenges of racial segregation and unfair treatment are still posed for civil society today.

The Color of Skin vs. The Context of Character in the 21st Century

Jones’ gives a frank discussion on the translation of this phrase extracted from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. More specifically, the conditions of present-day America are scrutinized in comparison to the challenge of Dr. King and whether society is consistent or inconsistent with the message.

Redefining the Landscape of Corporate America

The expression “Nero while Rome burned” refers to heedless and irrelevant behavior in the midst of a crisis. Jones’ believes much of Corporate America is the “Neroes” of today. In his speech, he revisits and redefines the landscape of Corporate Responsibility and its response to many of the social, economic, and educational problems in society.

Education in America Today: Why Are We So Far Behind?

This speech objectively lays out a summation of the facts pertaining to education today. With communication based technology being the main source of gathering information in our society, the absence of education hurts young people, causing an influx of uneducated students. Therefore, these insufficient youth, as deemed by society, are unable to make a meaningful economic contribution to sustain themselves and their families. Jones’ goal is to shed light on some of the possible options for action and other solutions in order to address and redress the education problem in America today.

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