Time Warp 1998: James Earl Jones Shines Light On Diversity, Race In Scranton Speech

May 2, 2018 GMT

Oct. 28, 1998: When you read the phrases “No, I am your father” and “This is CNN,” you probably hear in your mind the voice of stage and screen actor James Earl Jones.

That legendary voice spoke at a lecture at Scranton Cultural Center at The Masonic Temple organized by the African-American Arts Alliance in Scranton, Bell Atlantic, Marywood University, University of Scranton, Keystone College and Penn State Worthington Scranton. Tickets for the event cost $10 but were free for students attending those schools.

Before Jones started his lecture, Scranton Mayor Jimmy Connors presented the Tony and Emmy award-winning actor with a key to the city. Connors quipped during the presentation that he wouldn’t find much in the city’s vault.

Over an hour, Jones spoke to the crowd of 1,300 on the topics of diversity, race and stereotypes. He said racism is just as dangerous as drugs and AIDS and that art is a way for better understanding among people.

Following the talk, Jones met privately with students from the area’s colleges and universities.

Known for voicing Darth Vader in “Star Wars” productions since 1977, Jones also starred in such films as “Field of Dreams,” “The Sandlot,” “Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.” He also voiced other roles, such as Mufasa in “The Lion King,” and did narration for “The Simpsons,” 3rd Rock from the Sun” and commercials for CNN, Bell Atlantic/Verizon Telephone and the 2000 Olympics.

Additionally, Jones starred in numerous Broadway productions. He won a Tony for best actor for his portrayals of Jack Johnson in “The Great White Hope” and Troy Maxson in “Fences.”

Contact the writer:


570-348-9140; @TTPagesPast on Twitter