Non-traditional is one way to describe Elder Frank B. Jones’ path to ministerial service. Currently, he serves as the pastor of Pentecostal Temple in Compton, but based on his history, few would have guessed that he would be in this position.
Pastor Jones’ career includes stints ranging from Air Force officer to flight instructor to airline pilot to Black Panther Party Deputy Minister of Information and editor of the Black Panther Newspaper.
“I have a very diverse background,” acknowledged ElderJones. “I earned eight Air Medals and an Air Force Commendation Medal for my service in Vietnam. After resigning from the Air Force, I was hired as a pilot with United Airlines, and two years later, I joined the Black Panther Party.”
Not surprisingly, his participation in the Black Panthers drew the attention of federal authorities.
“Although I wassubpoenaed to testify before the U.S. House of Representative’s Committee on Un-American Activities and before a grand jury in San Francisco, I was never found guilty of anything, but I recently haveused the Freedom of Information Act to acquire 221 page of FBI documents about the FBI’s surveillance of me while I served as a Black Panther,” he said.
After leaving the group, Elder Jones remained with United as a pilot and became president of the United Airlines Black Caucus, an organization that advocated for increased hiring of African Americans, especially pilots. He also volunteered with the Office of Economic Opportunity, aU.S. governmentservice group. But, when he complained to superiors that the majority of funding was being allocated to administrators instead of those in need, he was no longer welcome to volunteer.
Because he was an admirer of Malcolm X, Elder Jones considered converting to the Muslim faith and recalled, “I went on a missionary trip to Guyana, South America, with a Muslim group from Pakistan, and while on that trip, I decided to become a Muslim.
Source: LA Sentinel