A transplanted New Yorker, with degrees in history from Morehouse and the University of Delaware and in African and Afro-American studies from Cornell, Louis E. Jones landed in Detroit a decade ago to work at the Walter Reuther Library at Wayne State University. And although he has held various titles at the Reuther, his constant work has been as the archivist of nearly 80 years worth of records of the Service Employees International Union — one of several major unions whose records are housed at the Reuther.
In fact, the library, which also holds the records of the Detroit Branch of the NAACP and other treasures of nonunion history, is one of the local institutions that more people should know about, says Jones, who is also the co-director of the Detroit African-American History Project. That project, also based at Wayne State, is aimed at students, teachers and researchers alike. (See www.daahp.wayne.edu.)
Jones’ personal bests in Detroit? He’s a big fan of Hart Plaza, and, particularly, the annual African World Festival. An Oak Park resident, married and the father of a 5-year-old, Jones says the Detroit Science Center and the Detroit Zoo are frequent stops on the itinerary. He also has praise for his church, New Hope Missionary Baptist Church in Southfield, and Baker’s Keyboard Lounge, “a place I’ve spent some time at and like a lot.”