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William R. Jones Papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS 2020-001

Scope and Contents

Correspondence, subject files, publications, course materials, sound recordings, videocassettes, and digital media documenting the scholarship, instruction, and faculty service of Rev. Dr. William R. Jones. Major subjects include racism and oppression in the United States, Black liberation theology, and Florida State University units including the Department of Religion and the African American Studies program.

Online Copies Available

Select born-digital materials from this collection are available through PASS.


  • 1953 - 2009

Conditions Governing Access

Most paper files are still arranged as-received and difficult to handle routinely.

See also Technical Access note below.

Contact SCA staff at for more information about access to this collection.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyrights in works by William R. Jones in this collection are held by Florida State University. For permission to re-use content beyond Fair Use, contact Special Collections & Archives staff at

Copyright terms for unpublished works by William R. Jones will expire on January 1, 2083.

Copyright restrictions may apply to other works in this collection. Re-use or copying beyond Fair Use may require permission from the rights-holder. Please contact for more information.

Biographical Note

Rev. Dr. William Ronald "Bill" Jones (1933-2012) was an African American philosopher, scholar, and professor. His scholarly interests included philosophy, Blacks in the field of philosophy, racism, theodicy and Christian theism, Black theology, and especially the operation of oppressive structures in American society. Jones is well-known for his 1973 monograph Is God A White Racist?, as well as the oppression investigation tools the Jones Analytic Model (JAM) and Jones Oppression Grid (JOG).

Jones was born July 17, 1933 in Louisville, Kentucky. He was one of six children born to to Henry W. Jones and Lannie (Brogsdale) Jones.

Jones attended Howard University, where he initially majored in engineering before transferring to philosophy. He recieved a BA in philosophy, magna cum laude, from Howard in 1955. Jones earned a Masters of Divinity from Harvard University in 1958.

Jones was ordained by the Unitarian Society of Wellesley Hills, MA on June 15, 1958, and served from 1958-1960 as Assistant Minister and Director of Religious Education at the all-white First Unitarian Church in Providence, Rhode Island.

He was a visiting professor at Howard from 1964-1969 while concurrently working on a PhD in Religious Studies at Brown University, completed in 1969. Jones taught at Yale Divinity School from 1969-1977, and was coordinator of Black Studies there from 1974-1976.

He became Professor of Religion and the founding director of Black Studies at Florida State University (FSU) in 1977. He served as a community minister at FSU as well.

Jones authored articles regarding oppression and the church’s role in social change. In 1973, Beacon Press published Jones’s controversial piece, Is God A White Racist? A Preamble to Black Theology, and in 1978, he co-edited and contributed to the monograph Black Theology II.

Jones retired from Florida State University in 1999 as Professor Emeritus. He died in Tallahassee, Florida on Friday, July 13, 2012.

Jones was recipient of many awards, including: the African American Studies and Research Center Award for Outstanding Contribution to Philosophy and the African American Community from Purdue University; Distinguished Visiting Professor in Afro-American Studies at Lafayette College in 1983–84; first recipient of the William R. Jones Most Valuable Mentor Award, established by the Florida Endowment Fund for Higher Education to recognize the contribution of faculty members in the state of Florida university system to McKnight Black doctoral students; Florida State University Faculty Teaching Award in 1989 and 1994; state of Florida Ida S. Baker Black Distinguished Educator Recognition Award; Richard Allen Award from Yale Divinity School; Bragg Humanist of the Year; American Humanist Association Humanist Pioneer of the Year; and the first recipient of the Martin Luther King Jr. Distinguished Scholar Award. In 2008, at the Fifteenth Annual Philosophy Born of Struggle Conference, Jones received its first William R. Jones Award, established in his honor for a lifetime of achievement.


American Philosophical Association. (Spring 2013). APA Newsletters.

Harper, Daniel. "William R. Jones: a brief appreciation."

Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association. "In Memory of . . . William R. Jones (1933-2012)."


138 Linear Feet (136 boxes, 2 items) : Total collection extent

69 Linear Feet (69 boxes) : Paper documents

918 Cassettes (23 boxes) : VHS videocassettes. 420 cassettes are unlabeled.

5 Cassettes : VHS-C videocassettes

920 Cassettes (20 boxes) : Compact audiocassettes. 297 cassettes are unlabeled.

5 Reels : 1/4-inch audiotape ; 7-inch reels

1188 items (13 boxes, 1 item) : Computer media: 3.5 inch disks, 5.25 inch disks, Zip disks, external drives, WinBook laptop computer, iomega jaz disk, Colorado DT-250 minicassette, DVD-R, DC-2120 mini cartridge, adapters

3.5 Linear Feet (3 boxes, 1 item) : plaques, framed items, keepsakes

3 Linear Feet (2 boxes) : Books

Language of Materials




Technical Access

Content of sound recordings, videocassettes, and computer media may not be immediately accessible to researchers. For more information, please contact Special Collections & Archives staff at

Custodial History

Moved by FSU Libraries and Meek-Eaton Black Archives from Jones home in Tallahassee to Meek-Eaton Black Archives Research Center and Museum November 29, 2013. Moved from Meek-Eaton to Strozier Library in October and November 2020.

Works By William R. Jones At FSU Libraries

Jones, William R. (1998). Is God a white racist? : a preamble to Black theology. Beacon Press.

Jones, William R. (1978). Black theology II: essays on the formation and outreach of contemporary Black theology. Bucknell University Press.

Related Materials - FSU Special Collections & Archives

"Jones, Williams - Black Studies" [Photograph]. Florida State University Historical Photograph Collection, Heritage & University Archives.

"Jones, William Dr. - Black studies" [Photograph]. Florida State University Historical Photograph Collection, Heritage & University Archives.

Related Materials - Beyond FSU Libraries

American Humanist Association Records, Library & Archives, Meadville Lombard Theological Seminary, Chicago, Illinois.

Separated Materials

William R. Jones Book Collection, Meek-Eaton Black Archives Research Center and Museum.

William R. Jones Papers
In Progress
Rory Grennan
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the FSU Special Collections & Archives Repository

116 Honors Way
PO Box 3062047
Tallahassee FL 32306-2047 US