History teacher and Palmyra Education Association member Dan Licata inspired his students to research former graduate Dr. Clarence B. Jones, a civil rights activist who coauthored the famous “I Have a Dream” speech with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. As a result, the school is dedicating a library in Dr. Jones’s honor.

On June 6-7, 2017, Dr. Jones will return to Palmyra High School for the first time since his graduation in 1949.

Dr. Jones, an activist, writer, professor and lawyer, is known for being a speechwriter, attorney, confidant and friend of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He is the author of Behind the Dream: The Making of the Speech that Transformed a Nation.

After a challenging childhood, Jones became valedictorian of PHS Class of 1949 and excelled in numerous sports and clubs. He attended Columbia University and was later drafted into the Korean War. Once discharged, he enrolled at Boston University Law School. Later, he moved to California to pursue his law practice. While in Pasadena, Calif., Dr. Jones met Dr. King.

After nearly 70 years, Dr. Jones is being officially honored by the Palmyra School District, Palmyra Board of Education and the Dr. James Still Preservation Trust. Dr. Jones will return to Palmyra for the renaming of the Palmyra High School Library and dedication of the “Dr. Clarence B. Jones Institute for Social Advocacy.”

The Institute’s mission will be to promote the vision of Dr. King and Dr. Jones by cultivating the importance of community and respecting and valuing others through service and education.

“Anyone serious about changing an individual’s life for the better knows the answer lies in education,” said Dr. Jones. “Silence in the face of violence, is evil itself.”

Public events during his two-day visit at PHS include:

June 6 at 3pm: Dedication of the Dr. Clarence B. Jones Institute for Social Advocacy

June 6 at 6pm: Fundraising Dinner

June 7 at 6pm: Roundtable Discussion “Keeping The Dream Alive: Awakening Peace, Love, Unity, Compassion and Prosperity in our Communities in 2017” with local community, spiritual and civic leaders.

On June 7: a Proclamation Ceremony will be held for Dr. Jones at Palmyra Borough Hall.

Locations of events:

Palmyra High School: 311 W 5th St. Palmyra, New Jersey 08065

Palmyra Borough Hall: 20 West Broad Street, New Jersey 08065

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