J. Charles Jones, the civil rights leader who played a pivotal role in the civil rights events throughout the 1960s has died, The New York Times reports. The Chester, South Carolina native was a spokesman for the Woolworth’s lunch counter sit-in Charlotte. Jones was 82.
The son of the former Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee member said that his father passed from Alzheimer’s disease and sepsis.
Jones will be remembered for his participation in the protest that desegregated lunch counters throughout the city of Charlotte. He also attended the meeting at Shaw University in Raleigh, N.C. that the S.N.C.C. was birthed from. In 1960, Jones chose to spend 30 days in jail on a chain gang rather than be bailed out. It was a strategic effort known as “Jail, No Bail.”
The Howard University Law school alum was a civil rights attorney for 35 years, often speaking to media and members of the community about the movement that pushed for the Civil Rights Bill of 1964.
In a tweet, Charlotte mayor Vi Lyles said, “Charles and I had a connection deep as the roots of the trees that line Biddleville’s streets. As the principal of the segregated school in Chester, South Carolina, Charles’ mother became my own mother’s friend and mentor as she worked as [a] teacher at the same school.
She continued, “Charles Jones organized people, bringing them together to change the way we all experience and are treated in this country. He will be missed by many, and his legacy will be forever felt by this entire nation. Well done good and faithful servant.”
On Dec. 9, 2019, the Charlotte city council declared the day to be “Joseph Charles Jones Day.”
Jones is survived by his wife, children, and grandchildren and countless others who will uphold his dedication to civil rights.