In Memoriam: Frank Sidney Jones, 1928-2022

Frank Sidney Jones, professor emeritus of urban studies and planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, died late this past summer. He was 93 years old.

Professor Jones spent his early years in Greensboro, North Carolina, where his father was president of Bennett College. He was a graduate of Phillips Andover Academy in Massachusetts and went on to enroll at Harvard College, where he was the first African American manager of the university’s football team. He later graduated from Harvard Business School.

Professor Jones served as an assistant dean at Harvard Business School and worked for the Scott Paper Company. In 1968, he was named executive director of the Urban Systems Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 1971 he was named Ford Professor of Urban Affairs and became the first African American to achieve tenure at MIT. Professor Jones was the founding director of the Project on Technology, Race, and Poverty. He was also instrumental in the creation of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Professors and Scholars Program at MIT.

“Professor Jones epitomized so much of what we aspire to here in the department of urban studies and planning in our ongoing efforts in support of an antiracist transformation and the mobilization of our research, teaching, internal culture, and external partnerships toward excellence, justice, and diversity,” says Chris Zegras, professor of mobility and urban planning and current department head. “While the world has lost a pioneer, his legacy lives on in our department, as well as across and beyond the Institute.”

Professor Jones retired in 1992.

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