Family Sorrow For Biggest Defender of MCS Charter Surrender

Family Sorrow For Biggest Defender of MCS Charter Surrender

Very few people know the personal pain Memphis School Board Member Martavius Jones dealt with as he led the push to surrender the district's charter.
MEMPHIS, TN - In the midst of the school showdown controversy, and intense publicity over the surrender of the Memphis City Schools charter, very few people know of the heartbreak suffered recently by the man leading the charge.

Memphis School Board member Martavius Jones is the one who's been pushing the hardest for the district to give up its charter.  Whether you applaud him or not for his efforts, it's hard not to be moved by his dedication to this issue despite his great personal pain.

His hardest days in this intense political struggle have also been his darkest days.  His father, Willie Jones Junior, was losing his battle with cancer.

"He had battled cancer for three years," Commissioner Jones tells abc24.com.  "And particularly, his last few days, he didn't even know I was there."

His father passed away on January 14th, at age 63, just three days shy of his 64th birthday.

"Early on during his hospitalization," says Jones, "he did tell me he loved me and that he was proud of me.  That's all I needed to go on."

Througout the emotional ordeal, Martavius Jones never missed a single school board meeting or a town hall forum.

On Monday, January 24th, as he took his oath office, entering his second term as a Memphis School Board member, Jones' step-father and mother stood by his side.  It's an office he may not hold much longer, if the charter surrender he's fighting so hard for, is approved.

Even so, Jones keeps fighting.

"I still have to wake up every day and do the job I was elected to do," says Jones.  "I also have to deal with what's taking place from a personal side.  But while I still can do this job, I'm blessed to able to do so."


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