Jones, Bill T.
- Elshaday Gebreyes
- and Steven J. Niven
dancer and choreographer, was born William Tass Jones in Bunnell, Florida, the tenth of twelve children of Ella and Augustus Jones, migrant farmworkers who traveled throughout the Southeast. The family became “stagnants” in 1959, when they settled in the predominantly white community of Wayland in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York. There they harvested fruits and vegetables and also operated a restaurant and juke joint.
In childhood Jones navigated between the rural southern black cultural values of his home life and the predominantly white middle class world of his peers at school Black English was spoken at home white English in the classroom That experience was not without its complications and sometimes pain but Jones believed that it served him well as a performer by teaching him that the world was a place of struggle that had to be negotiated Washington 190 He did well ...
A version of this article originally appeared in African American National Biography.