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George C. Jones

An author and historical political trailblazer who helped bring about voting equity in Dorchester County.

Life, Achievements, and Contributions

     George Calvin Jones was born on March 26, 1909 on the Drum Point Farm in Dorchester
County, Maryland which was a part of the Goodriches choice. He was the son of the late Albert
and Kathryn Riley Jones. He grew up on a waterfront farm twelve miles up the Choptank River
from Cambridge, Maryland. He came from a family of seven girls and three boys. He was the
second oldest in the family. George, at a very young age, left Dorchester County and moved to
Baltimore where he lived and worked for several years as a carpenter and a contractor. George
later retired as a highly successful Baltimore County general contractor. As an adult he primarily
lived in Baltimore County with shorter periods to Dorchester County and Florida.

     What gave George great pride was knowing and feeling that every member of his family
through generations since and before the revolution have been honorable, courageous and
hardworking people. They were farmers, carpenters, seamen and blacksmiths. Also, some of
them had served in some capacity in the War of 1812 and the Civil War.

     George stated that the early ancestors on his father’s side emigrated from England and Wales,
and settled along the Chesapeake Bay in Dorchester County around 1700.

     George frequently made reference to the importance his family has played in his life--his wife
Helen was his greatest inspiration. He was also inspired by his seven sisters Myra , Generva,
Mabel, Gladys, Emmalyn, Luella, Marion and his two brothers Roger and Orville. What these
family members shared in common, according to George was abject poverty in their early

     Bard Avon located in Baltimore were favorite public speaking schools at the time when George
Jones registered for a course in public speaking. He met Theodore R McKeldin who was a
leading teacher and later became the Governor of Maryland. More importantly, this
relationship was the beginning of a long and interesting friendship. It also showed the
beginning of very important networking skills and strategies that George later used for building
support in addressing voting injustices in the county.

     George retired as a successful Consultant from Westinghouse Learning Corporation. He
pursued his interest as a consultant in providing special education for black people, who were
crowding into the northern cities from the deep south. George mission was to make
employable those who were unemployable, and Governor Theodore R. McKeldin was deeply
involved in this project.

     George became friends with the former Governor R. Mckeldin and Herbert R. C. O’Connor who
recommended and introduced legislation that supported passing a law to help people who
wanted to improve their educational status. The Maryland State Legislature passed a law that
would allow a person to take a high school equivalency test. If the person was successful, the
person would have the status of a high school graduate. George passed the test with a high
score. This confident building experience gave him new ideas and incentives to test his ability in
college. With this new confidence and hard work George enrolled and received the Associate
Art Degree in PreLaw and the Bachelor of Science Degree in Industrial Management from the
University of Baltimore.

     George served four years in the United Marines during the years 1928-1932. Governor Herbert
R. O’Connor commissioned Jones a captain and assigned him the job of organizing the First
Company of Reserve Militia under Colonel John McBray, the 602 2 nd Company, 6 th Battalion was
completed. The first assembly and parade were held at the Pikesvile Armory. He was a World
War II Veteran. He was also a member of the Masonic lodge in Cockeysville, Maryland.

     George was a member of the rotary club in Baltimore in which he served in several capacities
including club president. He was also a member of the Cambridge Rotary Club. In 1973 he was
elected district governor for what was District 763 for the year 1974-1975. Later he was elected
to the board of directors for Rotary International. George was a Paul Harris Fellow. He
supported the rotary foundation and other rotary objectives. During this time period, George
built a stronger bonding relationship with former Governor J. Millard Tawes, an old Rotarian.

     According to George, Governor Tawes in his declining years, brought up and tried very hard
many times to address the outdated and illegal voting system in Maryland. Unfortunately, he
was met with strong political resistance. The senators during that time period would not
support him and they talked him out of it. He suggested that after Jones left office as Governor
of Rotary, this would be a good project on which to work for the good of the entire state. He
challenged George Jones to go home and think about it. Shortly, after Governor Tawes died,
George took on the monumental challenge to address the voting inequities in Dorchester
County regarding blacks and whites living in the rural part of the County.

     George reported that his last great battle in life was changing the illegal voting system that
promoted political inequities in voting for blacks and whites living in the rural county. The
political strategy George used to help him accomplish his objective started with the creation of
the North Dorchester Democratic Club. George was the President of the Club that included
eight white men and two black men. George was a political activist who was very passionate
about making sure voting was fair for all of the citizens.

     The chronology of events, documentation, timeline and significant leaders are engraved on a
memorial monument that tell the story why the Maryland Constitution was amended in 1986.
The 20,000 pound monument is called Freedom From Political Persecution and Tyranny.
However, it is more popularly today known as the Historical Freedom Shrine.

     George was the author of two books, Revolution on the Eastern Shore. This book describes the
state of affairs of blacks in respect to voting rights and opportunities. It documented that similar
unjust conditions and laws have existed in every County in the state since the Maryland
Constitution was written in 1851. What happened in Dorchester County affect the entire state.
According to George, the change that took place brought at least one hundred years of political
progress to the Eastern Shore of Maryland during the years of 1985-1986.

     In his second book, An Eastern Shoreman’s Flight from Poverty, George talked about what it
was like growing up on the Eastern Shore, lessons learned, education, challenges and family
living, etc.

     One of George’s greatest contributions was creating the Dorchester County Third
Emancipation of Proclamation. This document changed the system of voting from at- large
voting to district voting in Dorchester County. It provided political voting equity for the blacks
and whites living in the County.

     Finally, George Calvin Jones, Historical Political Trailblazer successfully lived to see the
Maryland State Constitution amended in 1986. This amendment brought about statewide
reform in local elections. A memorial was erected in 1987 honoring the members of the North
Dorchester Democratic Club. George seeing his last great battle in life of changing the illegal
voting system in Dorchester County was accomplished, and he followed through on his
commitment to his late close friend Governor Tawes to help change the illegal voting inequities
in Maryland. This special project was achieved. The relevance of George’s political legacy is still
alive today.

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