Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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JONES , THOMAS JESSE ( 1873 - 1950 ), a Welsh-American who took a special interest in the education of Afro-Americans and the peoples of Africa ;

b. 4 August 1873 in Llanfachreth , Anglesey , he emigrated at the age of 11 to the U.S.A. with his widowed mother, a brother, and two sisters, the family settling in Ohio with relatives. He went to the Universities of Washington and Lee ( Virginia ) and Columbia ( New York ), graduating M.A. and Ph.D. ; he was also B.D. of the Union Theological Seminary . For seven years he was at the Hampton Institute , Virginia , one of the pioneer colleges for black students and it was there that he began to take the special interest in the education of Afro-Americans and Africans which characterised his life's work. After transferring to the United States Census Bureau he specialised in Negro statistics . In 1913 he began an investigation for the U.S. Bureau of Education and the Phelp-Stokes Fund ; this resulted in two important volumes being published by the Bureau under the title Negro Education in the United States . One result of his experience with Y.M.C.A. work for black soldiers during World War I was the leading part he took in the formation of the Commission of Inter-Racial Cooperation after that war. He led two educational commissions to Africa which were undertaken by the Phelps-Stokes Fund at the request of British and American Missionary Societies and with the cooperation of the Colonial Office . The report on education in West, South and Equatorial Africa , published in 1922 , led to the Colonial Office requesting him to make a similar study in East Africa ; the report published in 1925 covered Kenya , Uganda , Tanganyika , the two Rhodesia s, and Ethiopia (as they were then known). As a result of these reports the Colonial Education Department was set up. A dinner in honour of Jesse Jones was given by the British Government in 1925 at Lancaster House , London . Besides his work over 33 years for the Phelps-Stokes Fund , Jones undertook educational inquiries in Liberia (one result of this was the establishment of the Booker Washington Institute at Kakata ); he also went to Greece and the Far East on behalf of the Near-East Foundation . In 1932 he was Carnegie Foundation lecturer in the universities of South Africa whilst in 1937 he headed a commission which studied the Navajo Indians in the United States . His educational theories are described by him in two books, Four Essentials of Education , 1926 , and Essentials of Civilization . He d. early in 1950 at his home in New York .

Sources:

  • The Times , 17 Jan. 1950 .

Author:

Sir William Llewelyn Davies, M.A., LL.D., F.S.A. (1887-1952), Aberystwyth

Published date: 2001