Darnell Jones did not have the early opportunities that other students may have had in Claremore. He attended what was then the all black school known as Lincoln which is now the transportation facility for the Claremore Public Schools. It was an era when Oklahoma had what was called "separate but equal" schools for the two races.

While the schools may have been separate, they were not equal. The funding was not the same. The course offerings were not the same, but Darnell Jones had a secret weapon — his parents.

Judge Jones who is a trial court judge in Pennsylvania now lives in Philadelphia. His roots, however, run deep in Claremore.

While Judge Jones may not have had equal funding, he had parents who were going to make certain he had the drive, discipline, and opportunity to succeed. C.D. and Irene Jones were respected long time educators in the Claremore segregated system. Irene later moved over to the Claremore Public Schools upon desegregation where she became an equally legendary figure for many years.

While she knew segregation was wrong, she was going to make certain that her son fulfilled every ounce of his potential, and he did.

Judge Jones, who has been a respected member of the Pennsylvania bench for many years, also helped integrate Claremore Public Schools. It was a time when Oklahoma and America were trying to shed a shameful past for a brighter future. Judge Jones, who was a school mate of Paul Pixley and others, was a trailblazer then and now.

He is a member of the Claremore Public Schools Hall of Fame and deservedly so. Judge Jones continues the family legacy of teaching by being a faculty member at the University of Pennsylvania in addition to his judicial duties.

Now he is trying to achieve an even higher office; running for a spot on the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania where he is considered a strong candidate. And while Philadelphia may be very different from Claremore and the Lincoln school system, it is doubtful that a day goes by that he does not remember some of the early lessons his mother taught him when he was learning to read, write and, most importantly, learn to believe anything was possible.

Darnell Jones is another success story from our community who rose from a modest beginning to the top of his profession. All of Claremore wishes him good luck in his race.

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