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Volume 26, Number 6 — June 2018

Black History: Segregation, Tolerance and Reflection

Dr. Jerry L. Jones
Dr. Jerry L. Jones
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By Angela Wampler | A! Magazine for the Arts | January 31, 2012

Dr. Jerry L. Jones recently completed his book, Go and Come Again — Segregation, Tolerance and Reflection: A Four-Generation African-American Educational Struggle.

"We don't seem to have a lot of documentation of the segregation experience in this region," said Jones, professor of information management at Emory & Henry College. "This book is an attempt to fill that void by telling the stories of many African-Americans who were educated in a segregated system that often offered them an inferior learning environment."

The book details the public school experiences of generations of Jones' ancestors, from his great-grandfather (a former slave) to his own situation of being bused almost 60 miles a day round-trip for high school, from his hometown of Glade Spring, Va., to Bristol, Va. In addition, the book tells the stories of other black students (some relocated to various places, others still living in the area), including Ollie Cox of Abingdon; Frederica Cook of Bristol; and Elizabeth Hill and Margaret Davis, both of Glade Spring.

Born in 1947, Jones is no stranger to segregation. When his mother graduated from the seventh grade in the 1920s, no high school existed for black children in her county; she and one of her brothers were home-schooled during the eighth grade before transferring to other localities to continue their education.

Jones also discusses the factors that motivated him to seek a college education and a graduate degree before working as a college educator. He saw a computer for the first time in the summer of 1964, when he studied in a mathematics program at Emory & Henry. When he graduated from high school the following year, Jones was accepted into Emory & Henry, but instead decided on Virginia State College, now Virginia State University.

"Back in the '60s, Virginia State was an all-black college," explains Jones. "I wanted to go to an all-black school because I went to an all-black elementary school in Glade Spring and an all-black high school (Douglass in Bristol)."

Jones attends Ebenezer United Methodist Church, built in Glade Spring in 1880 by former slaves. He started playing piano in 1957, primarily self-taught. Around 2004, he started playing the organ when one was given to his church by Emory & Henry College. He enjoys singing hymns, gospel, and spirituals. He was a member of an all-black youth choir in his teens and currently sings with the Charles Wesley United Methodist Men's Choir in Abingdon.
He has taught at Emory & Henry since 2001. Previously, he was a professor for 27 years at J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College in Richmond, Va., and a high school teacher in Baltimore, Md. Jones received a doctorate degree in education from Virginia Tech. The author of a college textbook, Structured Programming Logic, Jones has completed additional studies at East Tennessee State University, Virginia Commonwealth University, Morgan State University, University of Memphis, Purdue University and Indiana University.

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Topics: Literature



"We don't seem to have a lot of documentation of the segregation experience in this region," said Dr. Jones, professor of information management at Emory & Henry College. "This book is an attempt to fill that void by telling the stories of many African-Americans who were educated in a segregated system that often offered them an inferior learning environment."