Wendell P. Dabney      

Guide to African American Resources
at the Cincinnati History Library and Archives




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Rev. James W. Jones, Sr.
  James Wesley Jones was born in LaComerant, Mississippi on October 30, 1935. His family moved to Memphis, Tennessee when he was a child, and he attended elementary school and high school there. Next, his family moved to Detroit, Michigan. In Detroit, he participated in an oratorical contest. His speech, "I'm Going to Be Somebody Someday," won him a scholarship to La Moine College.  
In 1959, Jones was ordained a minister and preached his first sermon on the second Sunday in February at the New Liberty Baptist Church. With the support of the pastor and the congregation, he entered the Detroit Bible School for a year and then continued his studies at the American Baptist Theological Seminary in Nashville, Tennessee.
After a fruitful ministry in his home church, Rev. Jones was called to lead Mt. Moriah Baptist Church in Lincoln Heights, Ohio. He preached his first sermon at Mt. Moriah in January 1965 and was installed pastor six months later. During his early years as pastor, he lead the church out of debt and into a secure financial future. He organized numerous church groups and led ministries in the areas of mission outreach, health care, youth development, Christian education and community outreach. Rev. Jones served Mt. Moriah Baptist Church for 32 years before resigning in 1997. He then founded the Greater New Moriah Missionary Baptist Church in Carthage.
Rev. Jones has served the local community in numerous ways. He was president of the Cincinnati Chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and of the Valley Improvement Association Foundation. He has served as chairman of Blacks Concerned for Justice and Equality in Media and as president of Black Cultural Productions. He is a member of the NAACP and was a trustee of the Cincinnati Bible College.
In 1970, Rev. Jones led a campaign against hunger and malnutrition. His work led to an increase in the number of free lunches offered through the School Lunch Program and through the development of eight Breakfast Centers. Jones also led an Operation Breadbasket team against local and national companies in order to develop job opportunites for African Americans. He has gained national attention for his work with the local broadcasting industry to increase the number of African Americans in broadcasting jobs and to have more African American programs on local radio and television.
In 1979, Rev. Jones, as chairman of the Coalition for Justice and Equality, called for a boycott of stores in downtown Cincinnati to protest a city plan to give .357 magnum pistols to police officers and to demand more jobs for African Americans in city government. In 2001, Rev. Jones again called for an international boycott of Cincinnati following the police shooting of an African American youth and a few days of civil unrest. His group, The Coalition for a Just Cincinnati, called on Cincinnati City Council to be more responsive to the needs of the African American community.

To learn more about Rev. James W. Jones, consult the following resources:

Rev. James Wesley Jones Papers, 1961-1979
Mss 938
This collection contains correspondence, clippings, notes, printed materials and other items pertaining to Rev. James W. Jones and his involvement in Cincinnati's African American community. It includes materials about the Mt. Moriah Missionary Baptist Church, the Cincinnati chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Black Cultural Productions, Inc., and the Cincinnati Human Relations Panel. An register to these papers is available in the Library.   Request slip

Sources Used for Biographical Sketch:
  • Rev. James Wesley Jones Papers, 1961-1979, Mss 938, Cincinnati History Library and Archives, Cincinnati Museum Center.
  • "Blacks Asked to Boycott Business,"Cincinnati Enquirer, July 17, 1979.
  • "Rally Leaders Say Blacks Must Unite to Reach Goals," Cincinnati Enquirer, August 13, 1979.
  • "I Didn't Expect Anything Overnight: Boycott Leader Continues Struggle across Decades," Cincinnati Enquirer, July 20, 2001.
  • "Leader of Boycott: Hearts Have Hardened," Cincinnati Enquirer, February 17, 2002.


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This online guide opened on February 10, 2004.