07/30/2013 07:47 EDT | Updated 09/29/2013 05:12 EDT

Rocky Jones remembered as fearless civil rights advocate

Condolences are pouring in for Burnley Allan 'Rocky' Jones, a man remembered for his unflinching dedication to civil and human rights in Nova Scotia.

Jones had a history of heart disease, and died Monday after suffering a series of heart attacks. He was 71.

The Nova Scotia NDP tweeted that he was a "dear friend" and "a wonderful man."

"Passionate advocate for social justice, eloquent speaker for community," tweeted Halifax Coun. Jennifer Watts.

Jones spoke out about race during the 1960s and 1970s.

“I for one feel that the city council has just demonstrated to us that they don’t give a damn about black people, that they don’t care,” he once told CBC.

In his student days, Jones was viewed as a radical, and monitored by Canadian police and by members of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He became a target for those that didn’t appreciate his fight for racial equality.

“Someone took kerosene oil and poured it all over the back of the house where the children slept and set it on fire,” he said.

Someone spotted the fire from the nearby legion and saved his family.

Jones had connections with the Black Panther Party, and was a founding member of the Black United Front in Nova Scotia

His friend writer Walter Borden said there was constant police surveillance for people involved in civil rights at the time.

Jones played a leading role in creating an indigenous program for black and Mi'kmaq students at the Dalhousie Law School.

In the early 1990s he graduated from law school and focused largely on human rights, criminal and prisoners’ rights and labour law.

Later in life he also spoke out on social issues.

“But the children coming up now are children of mixed marriages. These children are disconnected from the black community,” he once said.

He would have turned 72 next month.