NASW Foundation National Programs
NASW Social Work Pioneers®
Hubie Jones has been an outstanding advocate for children and families in the Boston metropolitan area, a leader in educational and social reforms and a respected social work educator and scholar.
Jones attended graduate school in social work at Boston University where he attended a Ford Hall Forum speech by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and was inspired to make a life-long commitment to work for social justice.
Once he received his master's degree in social work in 1957, he began to have an impact on the quality of life in the city, fighting for social justice, racial justice and the rights of poor people. After a stint at two social work positions, he became associate director and then executive director at Roxbury Multi-Service Center in 1967. While there, he noticed a pattern of children who were not in school. He led a formal investigation through a "blue ribbon" Task Force on Children Out of School, which published a scathing indictment of the Boston School Department for systematically excluding 10,000 children because they were disabled, retarded, had behavioral problems, did not speak English or were pregnant.
That report, "The Way We Go to School: The Exclusion of Children in Boston", eventually led to the ground breaking, first-in-the-nation enactments of two landmark laws in Massachusetts designed to include previously excluded populations of children: the special education law and the bi-lingual education law. The Task Force he chaired became known as the Massachusetts Advocacy Center, or MAC, (presently, Massachusetts Advocates for Children), of which he was board chair until 1980 and is currently board emeritus. It was the inspiration for the national Children's Defense Fund in Washington, D.C., whose founder and president, Marian Wright Edelman, was the director of the Harvard Center for Law and Education and saw up close the effective advocacy of Hubie Jones and MAC.
Mr. Jones developed a particular style of very effective advocacy: uncompromising in its goals, thorough in its research, and tough in its methods, but always respectful and designed to bring out the best on both sides. Emerging from his commitment to social justice and his identity as an advocate came a man of many talents and sides: an institution builder, a mentor, a problem solver, a teacher, an administrator, a television commentator, an advocate. He is a rare individual of integrity, talent and humility who is known and admired by people from all segments of society: business, community, academia and government.
Mr. Jones played a key role in the formation, rebuilding and leadership of more than 30 organizations including: Dean and Professor of the Boston University School of Social Work; Acting President of Roxbury Community College; Director of the Community Fellows Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and Chairman of Critical Friends, a network of educational reform advocates dedicated to radical reform of the Boston Public Schools.
While attending a City Year National Convention in Chicago, Mr. Jones heard the renowned Chicago Children's Choir sing. As he puts it, he was "blown away" by its diversity and extraordinary artistic excellence. Consequently, he founded the Boston Children’s Chorus, which helps unite young people from diverse backgrounds through music and has won numerous awards honoring his commitment to improving the education health and well-being of children and families in urban communities.