Who is Prince Jones in Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates?
Prince Jones was a friend and Howard University classmate of author Ta-Nehisi Coates. (You can find a full summary of Coates's book Between the World and Me, including more about Prince Jones, in the eNotes study guide.) In 2000, twenty-five-year-old Jones was fatally shot by an undercover Prince George’s County police officer who followed him from PG County to Northern Virginia, where Jones had driven to visit his fiance. The shooting occurred only yards from Jones’s fiance’s home, and there were no witnesses. The officer in question later claimed that Jones had rammed his Jeep into the officer's undercover car. In his discussion of Jones’s death, which can be found in Part II of Between the World and Me, Coates notes that the officer had been tasked that day with looking for a five foot four, 250-pound African American man wanted for drug dealing, a description that didn’t apply to six foot three, 211-pound, notably upstanding and religious Prince Jones. Coates read about the shooting in the Washington Post a month after the birth of his son, and he and his partner, Kenyatta, later attended Jones’s memorial at Howard. The murder of Prince Jones—and the fact that the officer responsible was never charged—prompted Coates to research PG County’s history of police brutality. He recounts a visit to Jones’s mother, Dr. Mabel Jones, in Part III.