ABA to Honor Nathaniel Jones as ‘Difference Maker’
CHICAGO – The American Bar Association will honor retired federal appellate judge Nathaniel R. Jones, who grew up and began his legal career in Youngstown, Ohio, as a Difference Maker for Breaking Barriers Sept. 30, the bar association announced Friday.
The award is bestowed on an attorney, living or dead, who broke barriers based on sex, sexual orientation, color or disability.
Jones will be recognized at the bar association’s 2016 Solo & Small Firm Summit in Cincinnati, where Jones sat on the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals from 1979 until 1995. He held senior status until 2002.
Jones was born in 1926 in Youngstown, served in the Army Air Corps during World War II and returned to earn his baccalaureate and law degree at Youngstown State University. He was admitted to the bar in 1957.
From 1956 until 1959, he served as executive director of the Youngstown Fair Employment Practices Commission before leaving for private practice. In 1961, he was appointed an assistant U.S. attorney for the northern district of Ohio in Cleveland.
In 1969, the NAACP named him its general counsel and he served 10 years.
Jones has gained renown as a champion of civil rights and, the ABA says, “played an important role in furthering the abolition of apartheid in South Africa.” The drafters of the South African constitution consulted him and upon the release of Nelson Mandela from prison, Jones conferred with him.
Jones is the recipient of numerous awards and 19 university honorary degrees. In 2003, Congress named the newer federal courthouse in downtown Youngstown in his honor.
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