The Robeson Award honors an individual "who best exemplifies the principles by which Mr. Robeson lived," according to AEA. Robeson was a political activist, singer, cultural scholar, athlete and author.
Jones, who is currently reprising his performance as Hoke in the London revival of Driving Miss Daisy, issued the following statement: "Mr. Robeson was blessed with many endowments—among them the scholarship and athleticism of his youth, and the activist commitment that followed his fame as a performer. Perhaps he reached the most souls (including mine) as a singer and artist in the performing arts, and in doing so, he mightily elevated the importance of art to humanity."
Jones earned Tony Awards for his work in The Great White Hope and Fences. He repeated his work as boxer Jack Johnson in The Great White Hope on screen, earning an Academy Award nomination and a Golden Globe. Jones was Tony-nominated for the 2005 revival of On Golden Pond. His numerous stage credits also include Othello, Cat On a Hot Tin Roof, Sunrise at Campobello, The Blood Knot, Boseman and Lena, Master Harold…and the boys and The Iceman Cometh. On screen he has been seen in "Malcolm X," "Coming to America," "Field of Dreams" and "Cry, the Beloved Country."
Founded in 1971, the Robeson Award was first presented to its namesake. Other individuals to receive the honor include Micki Grant, Charles Randolph-Wright, Sidney Poitier, Lloyd Richards, Judith Jamison, Carl Harms, Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee.