In recognition of Butler A. Jones’ tenure at Ohio Wesleyan University, his contributions to the field of sociology and race relations, his involvement in the civil rights movement, and his commitment to the development of other scholars and professionals, the Department of Sociology/Anthropology established the Butler A. Jones Lectureship on Race and Society in September 1995 and unveiled a Butler A. Jones bust in Elliott Hall in April 1999.

Butler Jones Biography

Butler A. Jones graduated from Morehouse College in 1937, earned a master’s degree at Atlanta University and a Ph.D. from New York University. Before coming to Ohio Wesleyan University, Jones taught four years at an Atlanta high school and nine years at Taladega College in Alabama. Jones taught at Ohio Wesleyan University from 1952-1969 and headed the sociology department for eight of those years. He was named chairman of Cleveland State’s sociology department in 1969 and retired as professor emeritus in 1982. He also served visiting professorships at NYU, Oberlin, and other colleges, and was a member of 28 professional associations.

Jones assumed leadership roles in many of those associations. He founded and served as president of the American Association of Black Sociologists and was chapter president of the American Association of University Professors in three different institutions, including Ohio Wesleyan. Jones also served as chairperson on numerous organizations including the American Sociological Association, North Central Sociological Association, Society for the Study of Social Problems, the Cleveland Music School Settlement, Cleveland Community Action Against Addiction, the Delaware Civil Rights Committee, and the Cleveland Federation for Community Planning.

In contributing to the quest for equality among races, Jones submitted ten briefs to the U.S. Supreme Court in cases involving equal treatment of all citizens and completed background research for the 1940 Carnegie-Myrdal Study of African Americans.

Finally, Jones received numerous honors and awards, including the 1985 Lee-Founders Award, the North Central Sociological Association's Professional Service Award, the Cleveland Federation for Community Planning Distinguished Service Award and the Cleveland State University Distinguished Faculty Award for Community Service.

This Year’s Lecture

"The Central Park Five"
Film Screening and Discussion

Guest Speaker:  Sarah Burns, Author and Filmmaker

Tuesday, March 5, 2019Sarah Burns
7:00 p.m.
Hamilton-Williams Benes Rooms

Sarah Burns is the author of The Central Park Five: The Untold Story Behind One of New York City’s Most Infamous Crimes and, along with David McMahon and Ken Burns, the producer, writer, and director of the documentary The Central Park Five, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2012. It was named the Best Non-Fiction film of 2012 by the New York Film Critics Circle and won a 2013 Peabody Award. Most recently, she produced and directed, along with David McMahon and Ken Burns, the two-part, four hour Jackie Robinson, a biography of the celebrated baseball player and civil rights icon, which she wrote with McMahon. The film aired on PBS in April 2016 and she and McMahon were nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Nonfiction Program and won a WGA award for Documentary Script. She is currently working on a documentary about public housing in Atlanta. Sarah was born and raised in Walpole, New Hampshire. She graduated from Yale University in 2004 with a degree in American studies, and now lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband, David McMahon, and their children.
Her presentation is OWU’s 2019 Butler A. Jones Lecture on Race and Society sponsored by the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Social Justice Program, and Black Student Union with the following OWU departments, programs and offices: Journalism and Communication, Modern Foreign Languages, Film Studies, Women’s and Gender Studies,  Black World Studies, Philosophy (Andy Anderson Symposium Fund), Office of Multicultural Student Affairs, and President’s Office. Admission is free.


Previous Lectures

Date Title Speaker
Feb. 2018
"Building a Reflective Democracy: The Intersection Between Social Justice and Electoral Politics" Jessica Byrd, Social Activist and Political Organizer
March 2017 "We Are All Emigrants" Ilhan Omar, first Somali-American, Muslim woman in the U.S. to be Elected to a State Legislature.
February 2016 "From Civil Rights to Black Lives Matter: 
Gender, Sexuality and Black Social Movements"
Patricia Hill Collins, Ph.D.
Professor of Sociology, University of Maryland
April 2015 “High Price: Promoting Social Justice Through a Neuropsychopharmacology Lens” Carl Hart, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Psychology
Columbia University
Fall 2013 “Climate and Environmental Justice” Michael Dorsey
Visiting Fellow, Professor of Environmental Studies
College of the Environment, Wesleyan University
November 2012 “We Still Live Here” Anne Makepeace
Film Writer/Director/Producer
March 2012 “Race and Neighborhood Crime in Urban Areas” Ruth Peterson
Professor Emeritus
Department of Sociology, Ohio Wesleyan University
Retiree Faculty
Criminal Justice Research Center, The Ohio State University
March 2011 “With Justice for All” Morris Dees
Founder, Chief Trial Attorney
Southern Poverty Law Center
April 2010 “Anatomy of Hate” Mike Ransdell
October 2008 “Reflections on the Role of Race in the 2008 Presidential Election” Korie Edwards
Assistant Professor of Sociology
The Ohio State University
January 2008 “The American Role in the Fall of Haitian Democracy” Randall Robinson
‘An Unbroken Agony: Haiti, From Revolution to the Kidnapping of a President’
Founder, Past President
April 2007 “Violence and the Inner City Poor” Elijah Anderson
The Charles and William Day Distinguished Professor of Social Sciences, Professor of Sociology
University of Pennsylvania
February 2006 “Hip-Hop: Music or Movement?” Kenyon Rashan Farrow ’97
Writer, Lecturer
April 2005 “Latino Immigrants: The New Civil Rights Movement in the United States” Baldemar Velasquez
Farm Labor Organizing Committee
January 2005 “The Enduring Paradox: The American Dream and the American Dilemma” Dr. Charles Bennett
Dayspring Community Church
Adjunct Professor
Interdenominatinoal Theological School
January 2004 “The Relevance of Nonviolent Action” Mary King ’62
Civil Rights Activist, Author
April 2003 “Donkeys of the University: Women and the Transformation of South African Higher Education” Reitumetse Mabokela ’92
Department of Educational Administration, Michigan State University
April 2002 “Afghanistan: A Multiethnic Country With a Tortured Past and Uncertain Future” Alam Paynid
Director of OSU Middle East Studies Center, Adjunct Professor
The Ohio State University
Kabul University
February 2002 “Politics of Race and Violence in the United States” James Upton
Professor of African-American and African Studies
The Ohio State University
March 2001 “From Civil Rights to Florida – Ending the Second Reconstruction: An Examination of ‘Race’ at the Turn of the Centuries” Robert Newby
Professor of Sociology
Central Michigan University
April 2000 “Race, Nations, and the Global African Diaspora” Ruth Simms Hamilton
Professor of Sociology and Urban Affairs
Michigan State University
‘Racial Conflict, Discrimination, and Power and Urbanization in West Africa’
April 1999 “The Promise of Brown: Educational Equity After 45 Years” Edgar Epps
Professor of Education Emeritus
University of Chicago
March 1998 “Race as a System of Power” Patricia Hill Collins
Professor of Sociology and African American Studies
University of Cincinnati
‘Black Feminist Thought’ and ‘Race, Class, and Gender’
February 1997 “The New Social Inequality and Race Based Public Policy” William Julius Wilson
Professor of Social Policy
John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
Past President
American Sociological Association
September 1995 No title available (inaugural Butler Jones Lecture) Andrew Billingsley
Sociologist, Author
‘Climbing Jacob’s Ladder: The Enduring Legacy of African American Families’