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Ingram Testifies on Bill to Honor the Legacy of Judge Nathaniel R. Jones

March 29, 2023
Catherine D. Ingram News

COLUMBUS – Today, state Senator Catherine D. Ingram (D-Cincinnati) provided sponsor testimony on Senate Bill 65, which would designate May 13 as Judge Nathaniel R. Jones Day.

"Judge Nathaniel R. Jones was one of the brightest legal minds and civil rights activists of our time," Ingram said. “It is important that we honor his groundbreaking work, compassion and the legacy of care he dedicated to improving the lives of others.”

Born in Youngstown on May 13, the Honorable Judge Nathaniel R. Jones was an attorney, judge and professor of law who dedicated his life to the advancement of civil rights. In 1979, he became the first African American to be appointed as Assistant United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio in Cleveland.

In addition to arguing several cases in the Supreme Court, Jones fought tirelessly to end northern school segregation. He was nominated by President Carter to sit on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit as senior judge. His commitment to freedom and equality even spanned internationally. In the 1980s, Jones helped draft the Constitution that ended the apartheid in South Africa and advised other emerging African nations on how to design their judicial system. 

Judge Jones retired from the bench in 2002, but remained active in his work. Jones became counsel to the Blank Rome law firm and co-chairman of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, both located in Cincinnati. Jones was also a veteran who served his country during World War II.