NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Gospel great, television host, and Tennessee State University alumnus, Dr. Bobby Jones, will be the featured speaker at the 5th Annual Back to School with the HistoryMakers program Friday, Sept 26 at the T.E. Poag Auditorium beginning at 9 a.m.
The HistoryMakers is a national program that recognizes individual “Makers” in a noted field, such as the arts, business, law, politics, style, science and sports. Jones was recently inducted into the program as a “MusicMaker,” a category that consists of individuals who compose, perform, and promote music ranging from country to classical and doo wop, and includes lyricists, music executives, pianists, orchestra conductors, and gospel, among others.
As part of the HistoryMakers commitment to education, the Back To School With The HistoryMakers program puts black leaders in direct contact with young people across the nation. It encourages commitment to student achievement, as well as brings African American leaders into schools to motivate students, and raise awareness of the achievements of accomplished African Americans in their communities.
Usually the Back to School programs are held at elementary or middle schools, however, Dr. Jones selected his alma mater for this year’s program to bring attention to the education program at the University.
“Dr. Jones continues to be a role model and trail blazer in the music industry,” said TSU President, Glenda Glover. “We are proud of all his accomplishments and delighted he chose the University to document this important milestone in his life.”
Jones graduated from TSU at age 19 with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. He went on to receive his M.Ed. degree from Tennessee State, and his Ed.D. degree from Vanderbilt University. Jones also holds a Th.D. degree from Payne’s Theological Seminary.
Early in his career, Jones went on to teach elementary students in the St. Louis Public Schools from 1959 to 1965, and Nashville Metropolitan Schools from 1966 to 1968. He then became a textbook consultant for McGraw Hill Publishers and worked as an instructor at Tennessee State University from 1974 to 1986.
As a teacher, Jones helped develop the idea for a Black Expo in Nashville. During that effort, he introduced the pilot for what became “Bobby Jones Gospel” to WSM-TV in Nashville. The television station picked up the show and it ran in Nashville from 1976 to 1980. Jones also created, produced and hosted “Bobby Jones’ World,” a magazine-style show that ran from 1978 to 1984.
In 1980, Black Entertainment Television premiered “Bobby Jones Gospel,” the longest continuously running original series on cable television, where Jones served as host and executive producer. In 1980, he also received the Gabriel Award and an International Film Festival Award for writing and performing Make a Joyful Noise, a Black gospel opera which aired on PBS.
In 1984, he won a Grammy Award for the Best Soul Gospel Performance by a duo or group with Barbara Mandrell for “I’m so glad I’m standing here today.” Jones has also received a Dove Award, three Stellar Awards, three Trumpet Awards, and a Presidential Commendation from president George W. Bush.
Dr. Jones went on to produce the show, “Video Gospel,” which premiered on BET in 1986. He also produced and hosted a number of other gospel shows. Jones, who is an instructor at Nova Southeastern University, owns a production studio in Nashville.
As a member of HistoryMakers, Dr. Jones joins the likes of poet Maya Angelou, actor Roscoe Lee Brown, baseball great Ernie Banks, and acclaimed vocalists Nancy Wilson, Mary Wilson, and Bebe Winans, among others.
The Back to School program began in 2010 with 200 HistoryMakers in 107 schools in 50 cities in 25 states. In 2011 the program more than doubled – bringing 458 HistoryMakers into 286 schools in 112 cities in 35 states. Participating HistoryMakers represent a diverse range of professional backgrounds; from artists, musicians, and business leaders to politicians, religious leaders, and scientists.
The HistoryMakers is committed to preserving and making widely accessible the untold personal stories of both well-known and unsung African Americans. The goal is to preserve the oral history of 5,000 African American history makers, and to establish an online database that will educate and show the breadth and depth of the accomplishments of individual African Americans across a variety of disciplines.
Department of Media Relations
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About Tennessee State University
With nearly 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 42 undergraduate, 24 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.