Upbringing (’34-’54)

Everett Leroy Jones maintained his birth-name for 33 years of his life, even though he adopted the spelling ‘LeRoi‘ before he left Howard University in 1954 without a degree.  Although he loved to read and write literature since he was a child, he was mostly interested in religion and philosophy during his college years (Brown 8).  Afterwards, Jones had a three year career in the US Air Force, which was cut short by an anonymous letter accusing him of communist ties.  His writings were seized and found among them were his handwritten communist sympathies, which would become public knowledge; he received a dishonorable discharge when he was 23 years old (Brown 8).  These communist nuances would eventually flower into full-fledged political convictions later in his career.

Key Points

  • attended all-white schools through attendance at Rutgers University
    • although he felt intimidated & outcast, he excelled academically
  • Musical influence preceded college years
    • Lifelong passion for Blues and Jazz music
  • Influenced by Professors in Howard University who taught nontraditional courses


1934: Birth

1951-52: Rutgers University;

1952-54: Howard University;

1954-57: USAF

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