Mark R. Jones

Doin’ the Charleston: Black Roots of American Popular Music & the Jenkins Orphanage Legacy

doin the charlestonFor the first time, here is the stirring story of the Jenkins Orphanage Band and its role in American popular music. From slavery to freedom, follow the inspirational rags-to-riches story of some of America’s greatest jazz musicians brought together by the determination of one man, a freed black slave named Rev. Daniel Jenkins. His Jazz Nursery revolutionized the music world!

One cold December day in 1891, Rev. Jenkins discovered four black children huddled together in a railroad car. He had more than 500 children in his care. To support the Orphanage, Jenkins organized a brass band which performed on the Charleston streets for hand-outs.

Within ten years, the Jenkins Band appeared in London, played for President Teddy Roosevelt and premiered on Broadway. Members of the Jenkins Band played with Duke Ellington, Count Basie and Louis Armstrong. Then, tragically in 1919, one of the Jenkins’ musicians committed a brutal murder which shocked America! During the next decade, the Roaring 20s, America underwent a tumultuous change in which everybody was soon DOIN’ THE CHARLESTON!

Kingdom by the Sea: Edgar Allan Poe’s Charleston Tales

In 1827 Pvt. Edgar Perry arrived at Ft. Moultrie on Sullivan’s Island near Charleston and served for 14 months. The haunted, turbulent atmosphere of the South Carolina Lowcountry was a perfect environment to feed Pvt. Perry’s poetic despair and dark sensitivity. Twenty years later he was internationally known as Edgar Allan Poe. His tortured literary genius is perfectly reflected in these four Charleston-based tales from the Master of Melancholy. – See more at:

Palmetto Predators: Monsters Among Us

Palmetto MonstersAuthor and crime writer Mark Jones presents the stories and criminal minds of nine serial offenders who terrorized South Carolina during the latter part of the twentieth century. The Super Christian who turned a small beach community into a terrified town. The Gaffney Strangler who taunted police with the message, Stop me or I will kill again.; The school teacher turned- rapist who eluded authorities for more than thirty years. And of course, the horrifying and tragic life of South Carolina’s most successful serial killer, Pee Wee Gaskins. All are revealed here in chilling detail.

South Carolina Killers: Crimes of Passion

Murder leaves no decade unscarred. In 1903, the lieutenant governor of South Carolina shot dead a local newspaper editor, in full view of witnesses. In 1944, George Stinney was marched to the electric chair at age fourteen. In 1994, a mother made national news pleading for the return of her kidnapped sons, when in truth she had driven them to a watery grave herself. Jones spares no chilling detail in describing each of these crimes; all make for fascinating and terrifying reading.

Wicked Charleston: The Dark Side of the Holy City

wicked charlestonWicked Charleston: The Dark Side of the Holy City opens the door to the dark alleys and seedy characters not often associated with the Charleston of today. From the sexual escapades of an original Lord Proprietor and the comings and goings of the most notorious pirates, to secret brothels and nightclubs, Jones leads the reader back to a time when “drinking, eating and whoring with more than fifty wenches” was more common in the Holy City than one may imagine.


Wicked Charleston, Vol II: Prostitutes, Politics and Prohibition

Below the gleaming surface of Charleston, there has always been a darker side–a second history that has been hidden and denied by those who retell the city’s story, and by those who have lived it. Charleston has played host to a wide variety of unsavory characters, and has seen scores of sordid deeds played out on its cobbled streets, beneath flickering gaslights.

Wicked Charleston, Volume 2: Prostitutes, Politics and Prohibition is a captivating companion to Mark Jones’s hugely popular Wicked Charleston. In this new book, Jones reveals more of the city’s seedy history–from drinking and prostitution to murder and crooked politics–offering a rarely seen glimpse at a sinister side of Charleston’s past.

Find all of Mark R. Jones’ works on Amazon.