Scipio Africanus Jones (1863-1943)

Scipio Africanus Jones is celebrated as one of the most distinguished African American defense attorney and leading black citizens in Arkansas during the nineteenth and twentieth century. Scipio Jones was born to Jemmima Jones, a slave, in 1863 in Tulip, Dallas County, Arkansas. It is thought that he may be the son of Dr. Sanford Reamey, who was the owner of Jemmima, a prominent white citizen in Tulip. Jones attended Walden Seminary and later Bethel Institute. He taught public school at the same time studying to take the bar exam. Jones passed the bar on June 15, 1889, and in 1900 the Supreme Court of Arkansas accepted his credentials. He fought Jim Crow laws, did pro bono work for poor black defendants, worked with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, a leading member of the Black and Tan fraction of the Republican Party, and the first black Judge elected to the Pulaski County Chancery Court.  Scipio Jones was the State Chairman of the Colored Auxiliary Council of Defense for the state of Arkansas.

“Colored Patriots of Arkansas, Attention!”, (Little Rock: The Arkansas Democrat, November 2, 1918)

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Author: arkansascouncilofdefense

Crystal Shurley is a Public History graduate student at UA Little Rock.

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