Out of the Darkness: The Spider Jones Story


279 pages
Contains Photos
ISBN 1-55022-603-7
DDC 348.54'092





M. Wayne Cunningham is a past executive director of the Saskatchewan
Arts Board and the former director of Academic and Career Programs at
East Kootenay Community College.


Spider Jones’s captivating memoir of his dogged rise from rags to
radio personality is a page-turning story about the determination of a
Windsor-born black Canadian to achieve his dream of becoming a
broadcaster. At times hard-hitting and openly critical of the
synergistic racism Jones claims pervades Canada’s media empires, the
book will appeal to any reader who cheers for the underdog and wants to
see justice done in the end.

Although he started in Windsor on the straight and narrow with a
preacher father and an equally God-fearing mother, young Jones soon got
himself into trouble at school, at home, with the police, and with the
gangs on the mean streets of Detroit. He candidly admits to his early
problems with bed-wetting, and the fears and nightmares that resulted
from the death of a younger sibling. Early on, he participated in petty
thievery, break and enters, the fencing of stolen goods, and gang fights
involving knives, fists, rocks, or bottles.

From this apprenticeship, Jones escalated to Golden Gloves matches
where he won championships and to “smokers” (illegal fights in
out-of-the way places) where he made money from gambler friends who bet
on him. Along the way, he encountered numerous bullies, bikers, hookers,
pimps, fences, and cops on the take. But he met good people too, those
who changed his life for the better. Among them were George Chuvalo,
Muhammad Ali, Angelo Dundee, Howard Cosell, Ronnie Hawkins, Bobby Seale,
Tony Curtis, Diana Ross, and, above all, his Caucasian wife, Jackie.
Thanks to her insistence that he sever ties with his badass cronies and
pursue his dream, Jones completed the broadcast program at a Toronto
community college.

Today, Jones has his own show on Toronto’s radio station CFRB and
counts among his listeners and interviewees many of those same
personalities who helped him succeed despite obstacles of poverty,
racism, and his so-called early behavioural problems. His inspirational,
insightful book deserves a wide readership.


Jones, Spider, and Michael Hughes., “Out of the Darkness: The Spider Jones Story,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 16, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/15722.