As the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington approaches, we have the opportunity to talk with a key speechwriter and counsel to Martin Luther King, Jr. From 1960 until King’s assassination in 1968, Clarence Jones worked closely with Reverend King, assisting him in drafting the celebrated “I Have a Dream” speech that King delivered August 28, 1963. Through his work in the civil rights movement, Jones has had a dramatic impact on the course of American history. For example, in April 1963, he drafted the settlement agreement between the City of Birmingham, Alabama, and Reverend King to bring about the end of demonstrations and the desegregation of department stores and public accommodations. In September 1971, he again found himself at the center of historic events when, at the request of Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller, he helped in the attempt to negotiate an end to the historic Attica prison inmate rebellion. Jones also had a successful career in an investment banking firm, and calls himself the “first Negro on Wall Street.” He has founded several successful financial, corporate, and media-related ventures. He is the co-author of What Would Martin Say?; Behind the Dream: The Making of the Speech That Transformed a Nation; and Uprising: Understanding Attica, Revolution, and the Incarceration State. He is currently co-writing Where Were You? for the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. He is also writing his autobiography, Memoirs of a Winter-Time Soldier. Jones is a writer in residence and visiting professor at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute at Stanford.
Hilton Obenzinger, an accomplished fiction and nonfiction writer and lecturer in the Stanford Department of English, American Studies Program, and Stanford Continuing Studies, will engage Clarence Jones in conversation, focusing on the techniques, quirks, and joys of writing.
Wednesday, April 24
History Corner (Bldg. 200), Room 002
This program is co-sponsored by the Hume Writing Center and Stanford Continuing Studies. For video, audio, and transcripts of previous “How I Write” conversations, please visit: http://howiwrite.stanford.edu
Free and open to the public