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OFCCP Celebrates African American History Month


OFCCP highlights the achievements of civil rights leader, Nathaniel R. Jones

Nathaniel R. Jones served as a lawyer, judge, academic, public servant, and social justice defender. Jones was born in Youngstown, Ohio, and served in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II. He then earned a Bachelor of Arts in 1951, before pursuing his Bachelor of Laws degree in 1956.

After four years of private practice, Jones served as executive director to the Fair Employment Practices Commission, and Attorney General Robert Kennedy appointed him as Assistant United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio in 1960. In 1967, he was appointed Assistant General Counsel to President Johnson’s National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders (the Kerner Commission). Following his fulfillment of this role, Jones served as NAACP general counsel.

Over the next decade, he argued several cases before the Supreme Court and led national efforts to end school segregation and defend affirmative action. Jones investigated discrimination in the armed forces, and established the NAACP’s First Amendment defense in the Mississippi Boycott Case. In 1979, President Carter nominated him to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals where he took senior status in 1995 before retiring from the bench in 2002.

The Judge Carl B. Rubin Legal Society awarded Jones the Jewish National Fund Attorney of the Year award in 2012. Some of Jones’ other accomplishments include receiving the Annual Fellows Award from the American Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division in 2005, the Ohio Bar Medal Award in 2003, and serving as an honorary Co-Chair and Director of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati. The U.S. Congress named the federal building and the U.S. Courthouse in Youngstown, Ohio, in his honor in 2003.

In addition to the previously mentioned accomplishments, Jones also taught at the University of Cincinnati College of Law, the North Carolina Central University School of Law, and the Harvard Law School. He also served on a team of observers for the first democratic elections in South Africa. Jones also devoted his time to serving as a member of the advisory board of the Urban Morgan Institute for Human Rights.

In 1996, Jones chose the University of Cincinnati College of Law Library as the archive for his work, along with other historical materials documenting his career in its entirety. He said he hoped the papers would bring to life the realities for “…some who have forgotten or for those who may never have experienced the indignities of legally enforcing segregation and discrimination.”

The OFCCP has been inspired by the innumerable accomplishments by Judge Jones, and continues to promote equality.

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