Published on October 28, 2013
Kwesi Firempong offers libation at the start of a tribute to the late Dr. Burnley "Rocky" Jones at the Rebecca Cohn Auditorium on Sunday.
Metro Halifax/Jeff Harper
Published on October 13, 2010
Burnley (Rocky) Allan Jones will recive the Order of Nova Scotia for his achievements in the province.
HALIFAX - Confrontational, concerned and courageous.
That was how Rev. Rhonda Britton of Cornwallis Street Baptist Church described the late lawyer and human rights activist Burnley “Rocky” Jones during a public memorial ceremony in Halifax Sunday afternoon.
Hundreds of people joined her in the Rebecca Cohn Auditorium at Dalhousie University to pay tribute to the late civil rights champion and Truro native.
For several hours, performers and public alike filled the space with music, stories and laughter.
The memorial event included a reading by HRM’s poet laureate, El Jones, as well as performances by the Carson Downey Band and retired a cappella group Four the Moment.
“He would love this,” said Jones’s younger sister, Lynn. “He was so full of life, no matter the occasion.”
Lynn Jones described her brother as always smiling, always ready for a hug, always challenging you to go another step.
“I always knew he was special. I always knew he was gifted,” she said. “I’m really humbled that so many people have displayed their affection and their little stories.
Jones spent much of his adult life as a political activist, combating segregation and racism.
“The community has always told him how much he is appreciated, how he mentored them, how he took them to new heights,” said Lynn Jones. “So this is just the cap on that whole thing.”
Entrance to Sunday’s event was free, though donations were accepted for an education trust fund set up in Jones’s name.
Many of those who spoke at Sunday’s memorial had been personally impacted by Jones, including Nova Scotia-born actor Walter Borden and former provincial cabinet minister Percy Paris.
“He truly was a beautiful person,” said Tony Ince, the province’s Minister of African Nova Scotian Affairs. “He always greeted everyone with a smile.”
Ince said Jones was not only a key figure for the African Nova Scotian community, but for the whole province.
“I think all of Nova Scotia is going to see how proud we as a community are of this man.”
Jones died earlier this year of a heart attack. He was 71.
- by Metro Halifax