Civil Rights activist and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. advisor, Clarence B. Jones, joins Board. 



The Haight Street Art Center today appointed legendary attorney, author, and Civil Rights icon Clarence B. Jones to its Board of Directors. Jones joins Board Chairman Roger McNamee, as well as directors Ann McNamee, Tim Duncan, Jacaeber Kastor, and Jeff Idelson, in the furtherance of the Art Center’s mission to bring educational and cultural-development programs and exhibitions to a range of communities, via music, art, social activism, and the ongoing history of social and political movements, including the counterculture.

“Clarence Jones brings unique value to the Haight Street Art Center,” said Roger McNamee. “Beginning as attorney and speech writer for the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., Clarence has been a major player in the Civil Rights Movement since the early 60s. He is also a musician, a lover of the arts, and a long-time resident of the Bay Area. No one is better matched to the Art Center’s twin missions of social justice and the promotion and understanding of the art of San Francisco’s counterculture.”

“I am delighted to join the board of the Haight Street Art Center,” said Clarence B. Jones. “I have been a fan since 2020, when the Art Center commissioned a poster to accompany a song I wrote with Ann McNamee, ’Silence of the Good,’ that was part of a larger poster series to encourage voting. It is my hope that the country will once again embrace the values of the Civil Rights Movement and San Francisco Counterculture of the 60s, values that are core to the mission of the Haight Street Art Center.”

Clarence B. Jones

Dr. Clarence B. Jones served as legal counsel, strategic advisor, and draft speechwriter to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. from 1960 until Dr. King’s assassination in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 4, 1968. Vanity Fair called him the man who kept King’s secrets; Dr. Jones was privy to Reverend King’s decision-making processes and political struggles.

During that time, Dr. King depended on Dr. Jones for legal and strategic counsel and assistance in drafting landmark speeches and public testimony. He is credited with writing the first seven paragraphs of the iconic “I Have A Dream” speech. He has also authored three acclaimed books: “What Would Martin Say?”, “Behind the Dream: The Making of the Speech that Transformed a Nation,” and “Last of the Lions,” which is a memoir.

Across the decades following Dr. King’s assassination on April 4, 1968, Clarence B. Jones worked to carry on Dr. King’s legacy-to continue the nonviolent struggle for social justice, voting rights, and democratic inclusion. As a lawyer, Civil Rights leader, and business executive in the entertainment field, Dr. Jones maintained close personal friendships - and collaborative working relationships - with influential 20th-century artists, writers, athletes, and social justice activists, including Muhammed Ali, James Baldwin, Harry Belafonte, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, and Lorraine Hansberry. In 1974, Dr. Jones negotiated the historic “Rumble in the Jungle” boxing match between Ali and George Foreman in Kinshasa, Zaire. Dr. Jones has served on the boards of cultural organizations, including The Impact Repertory Theater & Dance Company, The Theatre Development Fund NYC, and the Franklin & Eleanor Roosevelt Institute.

Dr. Jones was engaged in close working relationships and friendships with many leaders of the black liberation movement who interacted with King throughout these years. He was a liaison between Dr. King and Malcolm X, James Baldwin, and Robert F. Kennedy, among other figures. Because of his relationship with Dr. King and his associates, he was the target of illegal wiretaps initiated by FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover from July 1963 until Dr. King’s assassination.

Jones currently serves as the Chairman of the Spill the Honey Foundation, an organization dedicated to Black-Jewish relations. He also founded the Dr. Clarence B. Jones Institute for Social Advocacy and also serves as the Founding Director Emeritus of the Institute for Nonviolence and Social Justice at the University of San Francisco. Dr. Jones was awarded an honorary doctorate at the University of San Francisco and honored at events at Columbia University, where he was an undergraduate, and the Juilliard School of Performing Arts, where he studied music. He graduated from Boston University Law School. His fellow classmates selected him as the recipient of the Silver Shingle Award for his public service. In 2021, he received the Thurgood Marshall Award from the American Bar Association, the highest recognition given by the ABA, awarded in a ceremony in August 2021 with a keynote address from President Barack Obama. For many years, Dr. Jones served as a Scholar in Residence at Stanford University’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute and Diversity Professor at the University of San Francisco (USF). A popular course he developed and taught at USF (“From Slavery to Obama: Renewing the Promise of Reconstruction”) is now taught online in many historically black colleges.

Haight Street Art Center

The non-profit Haight Street Art Center, located at 215 Haight Street (at the corner of Laguna), is a museum and print shop dedicated to poster art centered around San Francisco’s counterculture and social justice issues. For more information about the Haight Street Art Center, its exhibitions, events, and programs, please visit www.haightstreetart.org. The Haight Street Art Center serves community with education, exhibitions, events, and community outreach. Drawing upon music, art, and social and political counterculture history, we provide a space that bridges communities through social activism and artistic expression