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Former Illinois Senate President Emil Jones donates papers to Library

Former Illinois Senate president donates papers to UIC
UIC News
November 29, 2016
By Carlos Sandovi

In the mid-1980s, Emil Jones Jr. was already a veteran member of the Illinois General Assembly when he met a group of community organizers on the Far South Side that included a young man named Barack Obama.

Jones, who would serve three decades in Springfield and rise to become Senate president, recalls inviting Obama and the others to his district office to help educate them on the world of politics.

“I wanted to show them how things actually worked,” Jones said. “Obama was just a pushy young man. I took a liking to him but he was very naïve as related to elected officials.”

Jones, who retired from politics in 2009, is donating his papers from his long political career to UIC, where they will be housed in the Special Collections and University Archives at UIC’s Richard J. Daley Library.

UIC officials announced Jones’s gift Monday during a reception.

The papers contain more than 50 linear feet of documents, photographs and memorabilia. Among the items are photos and correspondence from his time serving as a mentor to the future president.

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Former IL State Senate President Emil Jones Jr. Donates Political Papers to UIC
Chicago Defender
December 3, 2016
By Mary L. Datcher

The business of politics in Illinois is just as natural as discussing one of our beloved sports teams. The major players in the political arena receive just as much free media airtime with their latest proclamations, resolutions and weekly press conference announcements. As an elected official, if you can last past the latest soundbite, you are fairly holding your own ground.

Former Illinois Senate President Emil Jones Jr. has achieved above-average strides as one of the longest-running state legislators in the Senate. With 36 years of public service, the elder statesman retired in 2009 — at the start of his protégé, President Barack Obama’s first term in the White House.

On Monday, the University of Illinois at Chicago hosted an inaugural reception of one of the university’s highest honors — the dedication of political papers by Jones.

According the UIC, Jones said he decided to entrust his papers to UIC because of its role as the only public research university in the city.

Speakers on hand included UIC’s Chancellor, Michael Amiridis; University Librarian, Mary Case; Founder of HistoryMakers, Julieanna L. Richardson, former Illinois Governor Patrick Quinn and introducing his father,  State Sen. Emil Jones III.

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Obama’s political godfather sends papers to UIC, not ‘Emil Jones U’
Chicago Tribune
November 28, 2016
By Kim Janssen

Former Illinois Senate leader Emil Jones Jr. directed so much taxpayer money to Chicago State University that the struggling school was given the sardonic nickname, “Emil Jones U.”

But the 81-year-old political godfather to President Barack Obama is donating papers from his long career to a more august institution: the University of Illinois at Chicago.

It’s not a case of ego, according to Jones, who noted that UIC already houses the papers of Mayor Richard J. Daley and other Chicago civic leaders and is the only public “urban research university in the city.”

Jones — an old school Chicago politician who funneled tens of millions of state money to Chicago State during his career and has a $38 million convocation center there named in his honor — said he “considered Chicago State, but they are not set up to handle something like this.” He talked to Chicago Inc. hours before a Monday reception marking the donation to the university.

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