One Community, One Book

Clarence Jones

LAST OF THE LIONS, By Dr. Clarence B. Jones

The 6+You Initiative reintroduced the USF “One Community, One Book” project in the fall of 2021 and 2022. The One Community, One Book committee chose Ijeoma Oluo’s book, So You Want to Talk About Race, for the reading program in the initial year. This year’s book, Last of the Lions, a memoir by Dr. Clarence B. Jones, founder and director emeritus of the USF Institute for Nonviolence and Social Justice and former USF diversity professor, was published a few weeks ago. We selected this book to honor Dr. Jones's civil rights legacy and his passion for civic engagement and to affirm the deep and meaningful relationships Dr. Jones has developed with faculty, staff, and students in our USF community.

Between the time Jones was born and today, America’s relationship with her black citizenry has experienced a sea change. Jones is the bridge from one America to another—spanning poverty and prosperity, injustice and acceptance, Harlem and Wall Street, even the militant underpinnings of the Black Nation of Islam and the Gandhian philosophy of Dr. King. His story is the connective tissue that clarifies our past, explains our present, and points the way to the future. Jones suffered the iniquities, fought the battles, and, unlike so many, lived to see both the fruits of his labor and its failings.

Last of the Lions offers a vibrant perspective on human nature and light and dark sides of American values. Jones presents a guide to the ever-pressing—and even after 400 years, the still-unfinished—business in our country: Erasing the color line. Ferguson could have happened half a century ago, but it happened half a decade ago. Last of the Lions explores a path to true equality laid out by perhaps the only American alive with the personal experience, political context, and social cachet to tackle the issue head-on.

Author Ijeoma Oluo

So You Want To Talk About Race, by Ijeoma Oluo

Widespread reporting on aspects of white supremacy — from police brutality to the mass incarceration of Black Americans — has put a media spotlight on racism in our society. Still, it is a difficult subject to talk about. How do students tell their roommates that their jokes are racist, for example?

This initiative was built upon anti-racism resources previously developed by USF’s Gleeson Library and promoted interdisciplinary dialogues across campus and in the community about race, racism, and other major issues that impact the Black community. By partnering with various campus divisions, including students, these dialogues provided our community with valuable perspective and built ongoing connections among everyone involved.

The group chose So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo, and during Summer 2021, all incoming 1500 first-year students were sent a copy. In her book, Oluo guides readers through subjects ranging from intersectionality and affirmative action to “model minorities” in an attempt to make the seemingly impossible possible: honest conversations about race and racism. Incoming first-year students had the opportunity to discuss the book during their orientation week in Fall 2021 in small groups led by faculty and staff.

The One Community, One Book initiative brought together faculty and staff from USF’s Center for Research, Artistic and Scholarly Excellence (CRASE), Division of Student Life, and the Gleeson Library to jointly select a book related to race/racism/anti-racism for USF’s fall 2021 incoming first-year students to read.

One Community, One Book supported the education of the whole person and a commitment to faith that works for justice. The shared reading experience and facilitated discussions around the topic of anti-racism called on the participants to reflect on their experiences in the context of our larger community, helping them to understand and respond to racial injustice in their lives and in the world around them. The readings and discussions guided students to examine their own experiences and values and expanded their understanding of racism and systemic oppression in the United States. With this foundational knowledge, participants continued the process of transforming words into actions to change the world from here.


Spring 2024

  • USF welcomes Clarence B. Jones to campus 

Fall 2023

  • The group convenes to select a book, Last of the Lions: An African American Journey in Memoir by Clarence B. Jones, Stuart Connelly
  • Books are ordered and distributed through Student Life

Fall 2021

  • Author talk
  • Staff, administrator, and faculty-led seminars for students

Spring 2021/Summer 2021

  • Ordered and shipped the book to all incoming first-year students
  • Recruited staff, administrators, and faculty to lead the first-year student seminars
  • Designed and organized the seminars

Fall 2020/Spring 2021

  • Convened a group to select the book, So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo