In Memoriam

William Augustus Jones Jr. (1934-2006)

William A. Jones Jr., civil rights leader and pastor of Brooklyn’s 5,000-member Bethany Baptist Church for 43 years, died earlier this month from kidney disease. He was 71 years old.  

Dr. Jones was a native of Louisville, Kentucky, and was one of the first black students at the University of Kentucky. While there he was prohibited from playing on the university’s basketball team because of his race. After graduation he went on to Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania, where he earned a doctorate.

After serving in the Army, Jones became a minister in Philadelphia and in 1962 moved to Bethany Baptist. Along with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Jones broke with the national Baptist Church to form the Progressive National Baptist Convention. This breakaway group now is affiliated with more than 2,000 churches which have about 2.5 million members.  

While pastor at Bethany Baptist, Jones led several civil rights protests and demonstrations in the New York area. Always controversial, Jones associated himself with City College professor Leonard Jeffries, the Rev. Al Sharpton, and Tawana Brawley, a black girl who alleged she had been raped by white racists.

William L. Lester (1944-2006)

William L. Lester, provost at Tuskegee University for the past two decades and a member of the university faculty for nearly four decades, died earlier this month. He was 61 years old.

Lester was first hired at Tuskegee in 1968 as an instructor of mathematics. After earning his Ph.D. at Southern Methodist University, in 1974 Lester was named chair of the department of mathematics. He became university provost in 1984.


Copyright © 2006. The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education. All rights reserved.