Anti-Racist Activist Mugged by Black Man

The Right Perspective, January 27, 2009

A white professor and anti-racist activist has been savagely beaten by an African-American man on the streets of Washington, DC just days before the inauguration of Barack Obama.

62-year old JoAnne Silver Jones was mugged on Jan. 16 while on her way to see her adopted daughter. Jones was beat on her head, arms and hands with a brick by her African-American male assailant during the attack, according to long-time friend Patricia Romney. “He beat her face so badly that she was unable to open her eyes, and one eye socket was torn by the blows,” she said.

Jones is an associate professor in the School of Human Services at Springfield College and director of the social work program. She has co-authored a paper titled, “Feminist Strategies for Teaching About Oppression” and was involved with “cross-cultural issues” including a 1999 incident at Amherst Regional High School where Puerto Rican students protested the school’s production of “West Side Story”.

Jones is still recovering at George Washington University Hospital after undergoing surgery on her skull and eye, but may be released this weekend, Romney said. “She can walk a little but is nauseous and headachy,” she said. “She’s a tough cookie, but this is totally traumatizing. It’s going to be a long way back.” Jones will need additional surgery on both hands, which are still bandaged from her elbows to her fingertips.

Romney said she is struck by what she termed the “paradox of it all”–a white anti-racism activist, the first African-American president and a mugger identified as African-American. To test Jones’ brain, doctors asked her the name of the new president, and she answered correctly. “This won’t shake any of her political activism,” Romney said of Jones. “She’s clear about what the issues are. This won’t sway her desire to keep fighting for social justice.”

Jones’ spouse Deborah King will be nursing her back to health. Jones’ assailant remains at large.

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