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West Virginia Archives and History Library

African American Life: A Personal Perspective
The Block Speaker Series
July 23, 2015

On Thursday, July 23, 2015, Hubert S. “Rabbit” Jones will present “African American Life: A Personal Perspective” in the Archives and History Library in the Culture Center in Charleston. The program, which is the second of the 2015 The Block Speakers Series, will begin at 6:00 p.m. and is free and open to the public.

Jones was born in Laing, West Virginia, three miles above Kayford at the head of Cabin Creek, delivered by the father of the late musician and radio personality Hugh McPherson. After graduating from Washington High School in London WV, in May 1949, he joined the Air Force, where he spent his tour in Hawaii with administrative support. He also became a self-taught musician in the military with his upright bass and played in the band.

Jones entered West Virginia State College in 1956 to pursue a degree in business administration. He came under the musical tutelage of music department head Dr. Leon Thompson who recruited him to play in the classical orchestra. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 29 months to make room for his younger brother.

His love of music led him to associations with musicians such as The Drifters, Solomon Burke, Bill Doggett, Rashan “Roland” Kirk, and Sony Turner who was the lead singer for The Platters. He later joined with MacDonald Cary Jr. and Warren Pope Sr. to open the first licensed black-owned night club and restaurant in West Virginia. Jones was called to play in jam sessions with Tommy Corey, Count Basie, Lionel Hampton, Ray Charles, and Amos Milburn. They played at The Greenbrier, Crazy Horse Café, Juke Box, and Tight Squeeze; Edgewood, Berry Hills and Meadowbrook country clubs; and Shalamar and BJ’s. His name first appeared on a 45 rpm with the Billy J Trio and a memorial album recording with Bob and Frank Thompson.

Jones worked with the state tax department for several years and became its first black auditor in 1961. In 1964, he became the first black manager with C & P Telephone Company, where he spent 25 years. The West Virginia Symphony’s Principal Bass Violin Chair was endowed by Lyell Clay under the name of Hubert S. “Rabbit” Jones.

For additional information, call (304) 558-0230.

West Virginia Archives and History Workshops/Lectures

West Virginia Archives and History