Roots in the Harlem Renaissance
Jones was a grade-school dropout and a sharecropper before making his way, via Chicago, to New York City and a career on stage and in film. Altogether Jones appeared in more that twenty films, including The Cotton Club (1984) and The Sting (1973). Jones was a living link with the Harlem renaissance of the 1920s and 1930s, having worked with Langston Hughes early in his career. After moving to New York in the 1930's (after a short career as a prize fighter in Chicago where champion Joe Louis used him as a sparring partner), Jones worked with young people on the Works Progress Administration, the largest New Deal agency, through which he met Langston Hughes, who cast him in his 1938 play, Don't You Want to Be Free?
Visit the Earl Jones Institute website.
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