M E E T  J A Y  A U G U S T I N E

T H E   S T O R Y

J A Y ' S  B I O


The Reverend Dr. Jonathan C. Augustine serves as the senior pastor of St. Joseph AME Church in Durham, NC, and as national chaplain of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. His ministry is filled with a history of leadership and service in addressing some of the 21st century’s most pressing social issues, bringing the church into the community and the community into the church. Immediately prior to assignment at St. Joe’s, Dr. Augustine was senior pastor of Historic St. James AME Church in New Orleans (1844), the birthplace of African Methodism in the Deep South and oldest predominately Black, Protestant church in the city. He was also an adjunct law professor at Southern University.  

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Dr. Augustine authored The Keys Are Being Passed: Race, Law, Religion and the Legacy of the Civil Rights Movement (2014), a book celebrating the 50th anniversary of the American Civil Rights Movement that was featured at places including the Essence Music Festival, the Fine Arts Festival at Martha’s Vineyard, and at the Congressional Black Caucus Annual Legislative Forum. He has also authored numerous scholarly articles appearing in national publications, including the Connecticut Public Interest Law JournalHastings Race & Poverty Law Journal, Richmond Public Interest Law Review, the Southern California Interdisciplinary Law Journal and the University of San Francisco Law Review. His written scholarship has also been cited by the Louisiana Supreme Court in published opinion.

Augustine successfully represented a class of plaintiffs in Carter v. St. Helena Parish School Board, one of the oldest desegregation cases in the United States, having originally been filed by Thurgood Marshall, then-counsel for the NAACP. He also served in the administration of Louisiana’s 55th governor, as executive counsel & director of legislative affairs for the Louisiana Workforce Commission, and in locally elected office as vice president of the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board. Augustine is a former judge ad hoc of the Baton Rouge City Court, silver life member of the NAACP, and life member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity.

Honors College Commencement (April 2017)

A nationally recognized leader, Augustine was named “Outstanding Alumni Brother of the Year,” by Alpha Phi Alpha (2017), having also won the fraternity’s “Belford V. Lawson Oratorical Scholarship Contest” while in college (1994). He received President Barack Obama’s “Lifetime Achievement Award” (2016), the National Bar Association’s “Forty Lawyers Under 40” Award (2011) and Ebony Magazine’s “30 Leaders of the Future” recognition (2001). He earned an economics degree from Howard University, along with an active duty commission as a U.S. Army infantry officer. Following four-years of decorated military service, he earned his Juris Doctorate from Tulane University and served as a law clerk to Louisiana Supreme Court Chief Justice (then-Associate) Bernette Joshua Johnson. He later earned his Master of Divinity from United Theological Seminary, as a Beane Fellow and National Rainbow-PUSH Foundation Coalition Scholar, before completing a fellowship at Princeton Theological Seminary. Augustine also earned his Doctor of Ministry degree from Duke University.

Dr. Jonathan C. Augustine is married to Michelle Burks Augustine, his partner in life and ministry.  They have two children.