Albert Jose “Doc” Jones is an amazing person. His personal accomplishments and the accomplishments of the organizations he founded are uplifting and inspiring. It feels as if he should be a household name. We want to recognize his achievements and celebrate his life and legacy. Doc Jones is this week’s Humpday Hero.
Albert Jose Jones is a Washington, DC native. He is an alum of Dunbar High School (Washington, DC) and Howard University. It was the love and wisdom shared by the community that allowed him to excel despite being an orphan. These experiences fostered a commitment to volunteerism and a strong sense of community. Jones believes that there is a world of people who just need someone to have faith in them and show them the way. He lives by the mantra that anyone who has something to give should give to others whether it be knowledge, skills or support.
Dr. Jones earned a PhD in Marine Biology from Georgetown University. At Georgetown, he became a Fulbright Scholar and National Science Foundation Fellow. In addition, he served his country as a member of the United States Army. Jones originally learned to scuba dive, in 1957, while a member of the US Armed Forces.
A scuba diving legend, enthusiast and pioneer is a great way to describe Albert Jones’ legacy. His diving career started in the Atlantic Skin Diving Council. When he originally joined, Dr. Jones was one of the organization’s only African-American members. Their lack of minority outreach led to him founding the Underwater Adventure Seekers Club (UAS) in the District of Columbia in 1959. UAS was the first diving club for African-Americans. This dive club encouraged minorities to learn how to scuba dive and swim. UAS was also one of the first clubs in the United States to certify all of its divers under the PADI system.
Dr. Jones’ success with UAS led to him co-founding the National Association of Black Scuba Divers (NABS). NABS serves as an umbrella organization for similar African-American diving clubs throughout the country. It provides the framework and direction for their member chapters. Its hard work under Dr. Jones leadership resulted in more than fifty diving clubs in the United States and many throughout the world being affiliated with the National Association of Black Scuba Divers. The association has certified over 2,000 divers free of charge. One of it’s most famous students and members is Shirley Lee. She was the first certified African-American female scuba diver in the United States. NABS has also taught over 5,000 people, mostly children, to swim free of charge.
As an individual, “Doc” Jones is a spear fishing champion, scuba rodeo champion, underwater photographer and a seventh degree Black Belt (Tae Kwon Do). His many personal achievements include being selected as the DAN/Rolex International Diver of the Year, the Beneath the Sea Diver of the Year and the Sport Diver Magazine Diver of the Year. In addition, he is an inductee of the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame and the Washington, D.C. Hall of Fame. Some other awards he has received include the Scuba Schools International Platinum 5,000 Award for logging over 5,000 dives and contributing to the development of recreational scuba diving in America. At last count, Dr. Jones has logged more than 6,000 dives in more than 50 countries.
Diving with a Purpose (DWP) is another organization Dr. Jones co-founded. DWP organized after a team including Jones helped place a 2,700 pound memorial at the wreck site of a slave ship called the Henrietta Marie. DWP consists of a group of mostly African-American divers who partner with George Washington University and the Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History and Culture to find and document slave ship wrecks worldwide. Many of their findings will be on display in the Smithsonian Museum.
In conclusion, Dr. Albert Jose Jones aka “Doc” continues to serve as an extreme example of leadership, humility and commitment. Learn, Live and Celebrate his Legacy.
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Little Known Black History Fact: Dr. Albert Jose ‘Doc’ Jones
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