Honors and Awards

Blank Rome’s Judge Nathaniel Jones Honored with 2019 Black Diamond Legacy Award

Nathaniel R. Jones

Blank Rome Of Counsel Judge Nathaniel Jones, who previously served as the Firm’s first Chief Officer of Diversity and Inclusion, was honored with the 2019 Black Diamond Legacy Award by the Youngstown Chapter of The Links, Incorporated, in recognition of his longstanding career and reputation as “a pioneer, a trailblazer with a landmark of distinctive contributions that have lifted our city, our region and its people to greater heights,” as stated by the organization’s program chairwoman, Ruthie D. King, during the awards ceremony held on Saturday, February 23, in Youngstown, OH.

Judge Jones noted in receiving his award that he’s concerned about today’s more overt racism, one of the forces he feels is undermining progress that the United States has made since the turbulent days of the modern civil-rights movement. “I’m concerned about attempts to turn back the clock to prior to 1955, and we have to do all we can to see that it’s not successful,” he stated. He also added that his Legacy Award, which is the highest honor bestowed by The Links, Incorporated, “is something I will treasure for the rest of my days.”

In addition to Judge Jones’ Legacy Award, 50 area doctors, lawyers, musicians, and other black men were awarded by the chapter organization for their entrepreneurship, philanthropy, community contributions, and volunteerism, as well as serving as role models and mentors. Jamael Tito Brown, the 51st mayor of Youngstown, also gave Judge Jones a key to the city for the progress he said the judge has helped Youngstown make.

The Youngstown Chapter of The Links, Incorporated was chartered in 1955 to enrich and sustain the culture and survival of those of African ancestry in Mahoning and Trumbull counties while promoting entrepreneurship, philanthropy, and community-building. The chapter launched after the landmark 1954 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education that outlawed school segregation, and formed to help people adjust to major changes the country was about to endure largely because of it. To learn more about the chapter and the international nonprofit corporation, The Links, Incorporated, please visit linksinc.org.

A native of Youngstown, Judge Jones served two years in the Army Air Corps before earning a law degree in 1956 from the Youngstown College Law School. He also served as a Fair Employment Practices Commission executive director, was appointed U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Ohio in Cleveland, served as general counsel for the NAACP from 1969 to 1979, and was nominated by President Jimmy Carter to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in 1979, a position he held until 2002. Notably, Judge Jones is an internationally renowned civil rights activist who played a pivotal role in the abolition of apartheid in South Africa. Consulted by drafters of the then-new South Africa Constitution, he conferred with Nelson Mandela upon Mandela’s release from prison.

To learn more about the awards ceremony and Judge Jones’ Black Diamond Legacy Award, please read The Vindicator’s article, Judge Jones Honored with Diamond Award (February 24, 2019).

Judge Jones receives Black Diamond Legacy Award.
Photo courtesy of The Vindicator.