Andrews Kurth Hosts Civil Rights Era Figure and “Behind the Dream” Author Clarence B. Jones

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Andrews Kurth clients, attorneys and summer associates gathered last week to hear noted civil rights era figure Clarence B. Jones recount the tumultuous years he spent as a close advisor, confidant and speechwriter for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

"I am proud that we were able to introduce Mr. Jones to our firm. As an active participant, he both inspired us and helped us understand some of our country's most historically significant events." - Bob Jewell, AK Managing Partner

Former speechwriter for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. inspires clients, attorneys and summer associates.

Andrews Kurth clients, attorneys and summer associates gathered last week to hear noted civil rights era figure Clarence B. Jones recount the tumultuous years he spent as a close advisor, confidant and speechwriter for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Speaking to a gathering of 50 clients, attorneys and community leaders in Houston, Jones spoke about his personal experiences during the U.S. civil rights movement, including an insightful and thrilling account of the hours leading up to Dr. King’s historic “I Have a Dream” speech. Jones is the author of “Behind the Dream,” a personal memoir of the planning for the 1963 March on Washington and the close relationship he shared with Dr. King.

“Since joining the firm, it has been one of my goals to bring my close friend and client to visit with us,” said Rich Kronthal, a Partner in the firm’s New York office and a member of the Corporate/Securities practice group.

Jones described the evolution of the “I Have a Dream,” speech, including Dr. King’s speechwriting process, which he said was both collaborative and solitary. Jones acknowledged drafting several paragraphs of the speech, but he told the audience that the speech’s final, moving passages were Dr. King’s own words, spoken without notes.

“As a participant in the civil rights movement in Houston, I wanted to ensure that we gave our clients and community leaders an opportunity to spend this rewarding time with Mr. Jones,” said Gene Locke, a member of the firm’s Policy Committee and Co-Chair of the Public Law practice group and the Diversity Committee.

“I am so grateful to have had this opportunity to spend time with Mr. Jones,” said Elizabeth Campbell, Firm Partner and Chief Diversity Officer, during a summer associate luncheon featuring Jones. Campbell poignantly thanked Jones and stated that “I have no illusions about the reasons for my success, for I know that I stand on the shoulders of so many who came before me.”

Jones included an inspirational message for the firm’s summer associates, who represent a generation of leaders born after the civil rights movement. Jones shared something not found in most history or law books, a personalized account of the harsh realities of the 1960’s and a greater understanding of what happened behind the scenes. For example, he shared a little known back story of his work with Dr. King and others in litigation leading up to the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in Sullivan v. NY Times and its implications on the civil rights movement.

“I was enthralled by Mr. Jones and his account of history as it was unfolding,” says Lino Mendiola, Partner in the firm’s Austin office and Co-chair of the Diversity Committee. “Meeting Mr. Jones has given me a greater appreciation of the work I do representing public entities regarding their affirmative action programs.”

“This was a great moment in the history of Andrews Kurth,” said Bob Jewell, Andrews Kurth Managing Partner. "I am proud that we were able to introduce Mr. Jones to our firm. As an active participant, he both inspired us and helped us understand some of our country's most historically significant events."

About Andrews Kurth LLP

For more than a century, Andrews Kurth has built its practice on the belief that “straight talk is good business.” Real answers, clear vision and mutual respect define the firm’s relationships with clients, colleagues, communities and employees. With 400 lawyers and offices in Austin, Beijing, Dallas, Houston, London, New York, The Woodlands and Washington, DC, Andrews Kurth represents a wide array of clients in multiple industries. For more information about Andrews Kurth, please visit andrewskurth.com.

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Ashley Nelly
Andrews Kurth LLP
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