Joseph Richardson Jones knew the power of words. Most of the words around him said that our people were inferior to whites. Of course, he knew this was a lie.
But he also knew something else that motivated him to fight the lies – some of our own people believed them!
We’d been treated like trash by white people in power for generations, and they never seemed to face any consequences. So it’s no wonder some of us believed the brainwashing.
But Jones knew how to uplift our people.
As a writer, actor, journalist, and filmmaker, his work highlighted Black excellence and our struggle for freedom. He wrote important stories in one of the largest Black newspapers of the day, the Atlanta Daily World – but his most influential work was yet to come.
During the Civil Rights movement, Jones’s pictures, films, and writing helped our people embrace the fact that Black inferiority is a lie! He showed just how much racism affected our everyday lives. He showed white people across the nation that their peers were capable of horrible crimes.
Jones taught us a critical lesson that’s still relevant today – we all have a role to play in our liberation, and using the tools and gifts at our disposal is more than enough to impact our communities. So do you and change the world!