Youngstown native, lawyer and civil rights activist Judge Nathaniel Jones passed away at 93 years old on Jan. 26 from congestive heart failure in his home in Cincinnati.
Jones was raised in Youngstown and attended public school in Youngstown. Jones served in the United States Army Air Corps in World War II.
He then received his undergraduate and law degrees at Youngstown State University under the GI Bill.
Jones served as the executive director of the Fair Employment Practices Commission in Youngstown and was also the first African American assistant United States attorney one year after practicing law. He also served as the assistant general counsel to President Johnson’s National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders in 1967.
In 1979, Jones was appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit by President Carter. For 23 years, Jones published “scores of opinions and law review articles,” and he served on several government committees and special bodies, according to a 21 WFMJ-TV article.
In 2016, Judge Jones was awarded the NAACP’s 101st Spingarn Medal, which is the organization’s highest honor.
The Nathaniel R. Jones Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse opened in Youngstown in 2003.
He was also awarded the first Simeon Booker Award for Courage from Mahoning Valley Sojourn to the Past in September 2016.
Calling hours took place Wednesday, Jan. 29, in Cincinnati to honor Jones’ legacy. Read more about the impact he had on the Youngstown and the YSU community in next week’s edition of The Jambar.