Sunday, September 30, 2012

Finding Style From Within...

My grandfather William H. Jones in 1950

As many of you already know, I'm an big advocate of finding style inspirations and suggestions from all sorts of places. I usually find my style icons from movies, photographs, and even literary greats but recently I found one from within my own family. My grandfather, William H. Jones, who passed away last month, served as not only an inspiration for being one of five African Americans to integrate Salesianum School (Pre-Brown vs. Board) in 1950 but for his style during his prep school years. From his tweed coat (which my grandmother recalls was the nicest coat she has ever seen) with the popped collar, to the break in his pants and driving gloves, this recent discovered photo just reminds me of how much inspiration we can gain from learning about our past.

6 comments:

  1. I'm sorry to hear about your grandfather, Skip. It sounds like he was an incredible man. I hope you are able to share his photographs, stories, and your memories of him with your kids, and generations to come.

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  2. Mr. Jones not only has sartorial style but his ability not to punch a screaming Opie Taylor in the face is impressive.

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  3. One of the things I love about looking at old photos of black guys is how they look too cool for school. Not only did they have to deal with racism and prejudice from all angles, they did it while dressed their very best. From lunch counters to freedom rides to marches, they all looked darn good.

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  4. @Brohammas
    I just found out that the guy appearing to be screaming at my grandfather was one of his best friends at the school. Salies invited my family to their prep rally this year and the gentlemen in the picture actually gave a speech about meeting my grandfather on first day of school and their fun times on the football field. It totally changes my impression of the picture learning about their relationship.

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  5. I can't begin to tell you how much this posting means to me...it made me think of my own dear grandfather. He had great style! I recently stumbled upon two pairs of vintage (Nettleton and TownCraft) longwing gunboat wingtips at a thrift store and had to buy them because they made me remember my grandfather's shoes. The shoes fit me perfectly and I wear them constantly. He wore longwing styled wingtips (he called them brogues) and always wore a grey hat with his suit when he went to church. It is amazing how much the people we love and admire bring so much of their personal style onto us! I am sorry for your recent loss. He must have been an incredible guy and he looks alot like you! Thanks for sharing this with all of us!

    Corey

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  6. Imagine my surprise when, after finding your blog for the first time, I saw this fantastic photo: I've seen it before, as I am a Salesianum grad myself ('88), as was my father before me ('57), and I can tell you that in addition to its academic and athletic heritage, the school and its alumni are extremely proud to have been in the fore of integration. And it sounds, likewise, that the school was the better for your grandfather having been among the first integrated students.

    Cheers, Paul J. Dougherty III

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