Jerome Jones looks like a young Ron Dellums
The resemblance is so great that it helped win him a part in "The Trials and Triumphs of Frederick Douglass," a special about the 19th-century human rights champion airing tonight at 8 o'clock, on Channel4.
Dellums the Democratic congressman from California's eight district (Berkeley and part of Oakland) plays the mature Douglass. Jones, a former addict who entered RAP, Inc., the columunity drug rehabilitation center and kicked the habit, plays Douglas at age 20.
Jones, 25, vice president of RAP, had no previous acting experience, when producer Dewey Hughes asked him to do the part.
"I was overwhelmed," said Jones. "I was thrilled. I think we take actors for granted and how they work. I found out very soon how tough it is to act."
Jones, who grew up at 15th and T Streets NW, entered RAP in 1970 after he had been charged with armed robbery. The only way the judge would let him out on bail was for Jones to enter the RAP program (he had become addicted while attending high school).
"If I hadn't come to RAP, I would've been dead or serving a long prison term," he recalled. "If I had gone back into the streets after I got out I would've bought some dope before I got home."
Once he entered RAP, he wanted to become a staff member - and the rest is his short history.
Jones, a 1969 graduate of Western High School, appears in two scenes in the one-hour drama. He would like to see production of more programs like the Douglass special.
"A lot of people don't know about Frederick Douglas," he said. "And programs like this will help teach people about their history - and their heritage."
Nevertheless, Jones is not interest in an acting career. Right now he's working on two degrees - as associate arts degree in business administration from Washington Technical Institute and a BA in social work from Bowie State College.
Jones hopes to enter law school by 1980 and following graduation return to RAP to work as a corporate and criminal attorney.
"My real interest is working with people in drugs," he explained. "Ninety per cent of the people on drugs become involved with the criminaal justice system."