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Dr. Clarence B. Jones


Civil Rights Activist | Attorney, Advisor & Speechwriter to MLK | Author, “Last of the Lions”

“It has been the greatest honor of my life to work closely with Dr. King and to do my best every day to carry forward his legacy. Today, I am grateful to receive this honor for continuing to support his work,”

Dr. Clarence B. Jones served as legal counsel, strategic advisor, and draft speechwriter to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. from 1960 until Dr. King’s assassination in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 4, 1968. Vanity Fair called him the man who kept King’s secrets; Dr. Jones was privy to Reverend King’s decision-making processes and political struggles.

During that time, Dr. King depended on Dr. Jones for legal and strategic counsel and assistance in drafting landmark speeches and public testimony. He is credited with writing the first seven paragraphs of the iconic I Have A Dream speech. With the 60th anniversary of the March on Washington approaching, Dr. Jones shows no signs of slowing down. He has authored two acclaimed books What Would Martin Say? and Behind the Dream: The Making of the Speech that Transformed a Nation, and countless articles and essays for the Huffington Post and many other publications.

His latest book, Last of the Lions (, was released last year. As a lawyer, civil rights leader, and business executive in the entertainment field, Dr. Jones negotiated the historic“ Rumble in the Jungle” boxing match between Ali and George Foreman in Kinshasa, Zaire. Jones has served on the boards of cultural organizations, including The Impact Repertory Theater & Dance Company, The Theatre Development Fund NYC, and the Franklin & Eleanor Roosevelt Institute.

President Joe Biden awarded Jones the Presidential Medal of Freedom in May 2024, the highest honor bestowed on a civilian. Jones currently serves as the Chairman of the Spill the Honey Foundation, an organization dedicated to Black-Jewish relations. He also founded the Dr. Clarence B. Jones Institute for Social Advocacy and serves as the Founding Director Emeritus of the Institute for Nonviolence and Social Justice at the University of San Francisco. Dr. Jones recently was featured in a Super Bowl commercial on behalf of the Foundation to Combat Anti- Semitism that focuses on all hate and the silence of the good people.

Speaking Topics:
• "From Civil Rights to Silicon Valley: A Journey of Activism and Innovation"
This topic could explore Dr. Jones's experiences as a civil rights activist, his collaborations with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and his transition to working with Silicon Valley tech companies. He could share insights into the intersections of social justice and technology, highlighting the importance of activism in driving innovation and progress.
• "The Power of Storytelling: Lessons from a Witness to History"
Dr. Jones is known for his captivating storytelling abilities, and this topic could focus on the role of storytelling in social movements and advocacy. He could share personal anecdotes and reflections from his time working alongside Dr. King, emphasizing the impact of narrative in inspiring change and fostering empathy.
• "Voting Rights Then and Now: Reflections on Democracy and Civic Engagement"
With his firsthand experiences in the civil rights movement and his ongoing advocacy for voting rights, Dr. Jones could delve into the historical significance of voting rights and their relevance in today's political landscape. He could discuss the importance of voter participation, barriers to access, and strategies for promoting civic engagement in marginalized communities.
• "Leadership Lessons from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: Insights for Today's Activists and Changemakers"
Drawing from his close collaboration with Dr. King, Dr. Jones could share valuable leadership lessons and principles of nonviolent activism. He could explore Dr. King's leadership style, strategies for building coalitions, and the enduring relevance of his teachings in contemporary social justice movements.
• "Innovation for Equity: Harnessing Technology for Social Change"
Given his connections to Silicon Valley tech companies, Dr. Jones could discuss the potential of technology as a tool for advancing equity and justice. He could highlight initiatives and partnerships that leverage technology for social impact, while also addressing the ethical considerations and challenges of tech-driven activism.

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