Dr. Clarence B. Jones

Civil Rights Activist, Author, and Former Strategic Advisor, Attorney, and Speechwriter for Martin Luther King Jr.
Dr. Clarence B.

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“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.

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From Civil Rights to Silicon Valley: A Journey of Activism and Innovation

The Power of Storytelling: Lessons from a Witness to History

Voting Rights Then and Now: Reflections on Democracy and Civic Engagement

Leadership Lessons from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: Insights for Today's Activists and Changemakers

Innovation for Equity: Harnessing Technology for Social Change


Meet Dr. Clarence B. Jones, Advisor, Counsel & Draft Speechwriter to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Dr. Clarence B. Jones, Robert Kraft and Gayle King: The Historic Roots of Black & Jewish Solidarity
MSNBC: How Dr. Clarence Jones Smuggled MLK's "Letter From Birmingham Jail" Out To The World
The Making of The Dream / Interview with Clarence B. Jones


"When I was a young lawyer looking to make a difference, Dr. Jones was the ultimate inspiration."

Barack Obama

"Clarence B. Jones, in telling the story of his remarkable, consequential life, takes us on a searing and unforgettable journey. This revelatory and essential memoir is simply extraordinary."

Ken Burns
American Documentary Filmmaker

"Clarence Jones is one of those rare people who witnessed an amazing spectrum of American history while making it himself. Not only was he one of Dr. Martin Luther King's most trusted advisors, he has been a close confidant to presidents, athletes, actors, authors, and activists. Viewing American history through his eyes is a lesson in courageous and compassionate leadership and a window into lost chapters of America's story."

Michele Norris
Columnist, The Washington Post; Former Host, NPR's All Things Considered