One of the best known members of the African Nova Scotian community has died.

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Social activist Burnley Allan (Rocky) Jones would have turned 72 next month. (www.barockyjones.com)

Rocky Jones has been in the public eye for more than four decades as a social activist on matters of human rights, race and poverty.

He was 71.

In his student days in the 1960s and '70s, Jones was viewed a radical, and monitored by Canadian police and by members of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

He had connections with the Black Panther Party, and was a founding member of the Black United Front in Nova Scotia. He played a leading role in creating an indigenous program for black and Mi'kmaq people at the Dalhousie Law School.

He and Joan Jones, his wife at the time, founded an inner city help program for people who were struggling with poverty.

In the early 1990s, he graduated from law school, and worked for legal aid until he founded his own law firm. It focused largely on human rights, criminal and prisoners' rights, and labour law .

Jones received many awards including the Order of Nova Scotia and an honorary doctorate of law from the University of Guelph.

He would have turned 72 next month.

Jones had a history of heart disease. He was taken on Sunday to hospital where he suffered a series of heart attacks.