The Civil Rights History Project: Survey of Collections and Repositories
Papers of Norman E. Jones
Repository: University of South Florida-St. Petersburg. Special Collections and Archives
Collection Description (Extant): A native of Lawrence, Kansas, Jones (1909-1990) moved to Kansas City, Missouri, as a young child, where he attended Lincoln High School and Lincoln Junior College. He also studied photography with Warren B. Harrison. He later attended Henderson Business College in Memphis, Tennessee. After living in nearly forty different U.S. cities, he moved to Tampa in 1950. He later settled in St. Petersburg in 1955, where he lived until his death. A photographer, publicist, and journalist, Mr. Jones worked as Florida editor for the Pittsburgh Courier and edited the African American pages of the St. Petersburg Times and St. Petersburg Evening Independent. For almost twenty years, beginning in 1956, he contributed a column entitled "Let's Talk Politics" to various black newspapers throughout Florida. He also produced his own radio program on two Tampa stations, and WTOG, Channel 44, televised the "Norman E. Jones Show." Until his health failed in the 1970s, he ran an advertising and public relations business in St. Petersburg. Active in politics for over fifty years, Jones became a supporter of George Wallace's presidential campaign. Jones's writings and broadcasts offered him an opportunity to share his contrarian and conservative political views. Many of his statements, considered heretical or at least unorthodox by other members of the black community, certainly added some interesting dimensions to the critical debates of his times. To him, the only color that mattered was the color "green." He praised the accommodationism of Booker T. Washington and preached economic self-sufficiency and self-determination rather than racial integration. In one of his more notable comments, he once proclaimed that "slavery . . . was a 250-year on-the-job training program . . . [followed by] another 100 years to serve his apprenticeship." Jones' correspondence reveals him to be a complex political pragmatist. Like a chess player, he often would think two or three moves ahead, unexpectedly aligning himself with parties and issues that would seem to run counter to his agenda. Included in this collection are audiocassettes, most dating from the 1970s, that offer Mr. Jones's reflections on black history and the "agitators" who demanded civil rights. He recorded his thoughts to share with his son.
Access Copy Note: Full access to the collection is available but access to all collections is available by appointment. Contact Jim Schnur, whose contact info is in the people field.
Digital Status: No
Extent: 3.25 linear ft.
Finding Aid URL: http://www.nelson.usf.edu/spccoll/local/njones.html
Interviewees: Norman E. Jones
Rights (CRHP): Contact the repository which holds the collection for information on rights
African American journalists
African American political activists--Florida
African American press
Civil rights movements--Florida
Florida--Politics and government
Wallace, George C. (George Corley), 1919-1998--Presidential campaign