Frank S. Jones, 1970

Frank S. Jones
Courtesy MIT Museum

Frank S. Jones was the first African-American tenured professor at MIT, shown in 1970..

Frank Sidney Jones was the son of a Bennett College president. Jones came to MIT with an MBA from Harvard, having previously served as Assistant Dean at the Harvard Business School. When MIT president Howard W. Johnson offered him a job as assistant to the president at the Institute, Jones refused. Instead, he accepted the position of director of the Urban Systems Laboratory, serving from 1968 to 1969. He made history in 1970 as the Institute's first African-American tenured faculty. As the Jones Ford Professor of Urban Affairs and Planning in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning (DUSP) he taught courses in civil engineering.

Jones founded Project Technology, Race and Poverty, which he directed from 1970 to 1973. He served on a committee to urge MIT to found the Office for Minority Education (OME) in 1974 with the aim of recruiting and retaining minority students. Today the Frank S. Jones Student Activity Fund supports students working on community-based projects and activities in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning.

Look, as long as you're clear about what you want to get done in academia, the academic base can be useful as a resource space to get certain things done in the city...

Frank Jones advising MIT colleague Herbert Jones, professors in urban studies and planning, Technology and the Dream

Timeline: 1970s
School: School of Architecture and Planning
Department: Urban Studies and Planning
Career: CommunityGovernment & Law
Object: Photograph
Collection: Community Fellows Program, Faculty, Harvard, Howard W. Johnson, Integration and Differentiation 1969-1994