I’m reminded of how much my dad (Dr. Eddie W. Jones) means to me every time I come into contact with someone who knew him—the students who were able to get into a prestigious graduate school program because of his recommendation; the music teachers now who are raising up a new breed of music students because of what their teachers learned from my dad; the many pastors who he encouraged over the years; the colleagues he learned from and taught; the people he and my mom allowed to live with them for long periods of time because they needed a place to stay; the countless fatherless boys and single parents he taught life lessons to; the people who attended his worship symposiums where he said “Praise the Lord” hundreds of times, and thereby, encouraging them to praise the Lord unashamedly.
Last week I was reminded once again of the legacy my dad left. A few years ago, he started a Black Music Symposium at the University of Arkansas where he was employed. The vision was to inform and educate audiences on the history of black music and create an appreciation for the art form. It began small, as most ventures do, but it quickly grew to draw larger crowds and professionals from around the country. Last week, was no different. Audiences were informed of the importance of black music and its place in our culture and left inspired. Once again, one of my dad’s visions has come to pass.
A few weeks ago, we had the privilege of getting his final work, Gospel Music: The Sound of Hope, published. His research of the development of black gospel music will finally live on in the minds and hearts of people around the world. Though he never saw it come to fruition, his legacy lives on and another life-long dream has been accomplished.
Growing up around him and my mom left a lasting impression on the importance of having a dream, working towards that dream and reaping the rewards of that dream. The dream is always bigger than the dreamer.
I think of the words of this song when I reflect on the legacy he left me.
Did you ever know that you’re my hero?
And everything I would like to be?
‘Cause I can fly higher than an eagle,
You are the wind beneath my wings.
To order a copy of Dr. Eddie Jones’ (my dad) book, Gospel Music: The Sound of Hope, visit www.redemption-press.com.
~Coletta Jones Patterson