Last of the Lions

An African American Journey in Memoir

By Clarence B. Jones, Stuart Connelly

Approx. 411 pp., 6 x 9, notes, bibl., index

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-9524-8593-0
    Published: August 2023
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-1-9524-8594-7
    Published: August 2023
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-6439-0
    Published: August 2023

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Last of the Lions is two histories woven into one remarkable story. It’s a personal journey—the evocative life of Clarence B. Jones, from his depression- and segregation-era upbringing at the hands of caring Irish Catholic nuns through our current era (when the U.S. elected as President, back-to-back, the first African American to hold the office and a former game show host who dog-whistled to white supremacists). And all the unforgettable moments in between—his Ivy League years, his unprecedented dual role as simultaneous military draftee and protester, his work as an entertainment lawyer, financial/media entrepreneur, and more. But it’s also the coming-of-age story of this country, with the kind of intimate observations and thought-provoking perspective that unfurl in classics like Soul on Ice, On the Road, and The Feminine Mystique.

Between the time Jones was born and today, America’s relationship with her black citizenry has experienced a sea change. Jones is the bridge from one America to another—spanning poverty and prosperity, injustice and acceptance, Harlem and Wall Street, even the militant underpinnings of the Black Nation of Islam and the Gandhian philosophy of Dr. King. His story is the connective tissue that clarifies our past, explains our present, and points the way to the future. Jones suffered the iniquities, fought the battles, and, unlike so many, lived to see both the fruits of his labor and its failings.

But this book is far from a treatise on race; Jones witnessed (and participated in) nearly every one of the most important political and social movements from the 1950s until today. During the seven crucial decades that defined today’s “American Experience,” Jones was in the thick of it.

Last of the Lions offers a vibrant perspective on human nature and light and dark sides of American values. Jones presents a guide to the ever-pressing—and even after 400 years, the still-unfinished—business in our country: Erasing the color line. Ferguson could have happened half a century ago, but it happened half a decade ago. Last of the Lions explores a path to true equality laid out by perhaps the only American alive with the personal experience, political context, and social cachet to tackle the issue head-on.

History never felt so present, a philosophy so urgent.

About the Authors

Clarence B. Jones served as speechwriter and counsel to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., partnered with Sanford I. Weill and Arthur Levitt, Jr. in the Wall Street investment banking firm Carter, Berlind & Weill, and was the editor-in-chief and publisher of the Amsterdam News. Dr. Jones has been visiting professor at Stanford University and the scholar-in-residence at Stanford’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Institute and co-founder of the Clarence B. Jones Institute for Non-Violence and Social Justice at the University of San Francisco.
For more information about Clarence B. Jones, visit the Author Page.

Author, screenwriter and director Stuart Connelly has been a professional storyteller for more than twenty-five years. A graduate of Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, he is the author of several books including the award-winning Behind the Dream: The Speech That Transformed a Nation, (his first collaboration with Dr. Jones) and the upcoming family memoir Offered In Secret
For more information about Stuart Connelly, visit the Author Page.


“When I was a young lawyer looking to make a difference, Dr. Jones was the ultimate inspiration.”—President Barack Obama (August 2021)

“Clarence B. Jones, in telling the story of his remarkable, consequential life, takes us on a searing and unforgettable journey. This revelatory and essential memoir is simply extraordinary.”—Ken Burns, American Documentary Filmmaker

“Lawyer, activist, speechwriter, and confidant of Dr. King, Clarence Jones is an unsung hero of the Civil Rights movement. His story is inspiring, compelling, and wonderfully affirming. A beautifully written, urgent, and timely memoir."—Bryan Stevenson, American lawyer, social justice activist, the founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, and the author of Just Mercy

“More than a memoir of an icon of the civil rights movement, Last of the Lions is a manual for activism in defense of democracy and the right of self-determination. Dr. Clarence Jones has given us a gift. The only question is whether we will be wise enough to make use of it.”—Roger McNamee, Activist and Author of the NYT bestseller, Zucked: Waking Up to the Facebook Catastrophe

“Clarence Jones is one of those rare people who witnessed an amazing spectrum of American history while making it himself. Not only was he one of Dr Martin Luther King’s most trusted advisors, he has been a close confidant to presidents, athletes, actors, authors and activists. Viewing American history through his eyes is a lesson in courageous and compassionate leadership and a window into lost chapters of America’s story.”—Michele Norris, Columnist, The Washington Post and Former Host, NPR’s All Things Considered

“In a world where the odds are stacked against him, Clarence B. Jones has spent his life trying to level the playing field. Those looking for lessons in leadership, determination, and unerring bravery will find much to admire in Last of the Lions.”—Steph Curry, NBA All-Star Basketball Player, Businessman, and Philanthropist