FOSL: --Jones at her home in Louisville on June 26, 1991. And maybe- -you told us a little bit the other night at that FOR thing about your background or whenever--I forget when it was. But I just wanted to hear a little bit about you and, you know, how old you are, where you grew up, that kind of thing, little personal information.

JONES: Okay. I'm a Tennessean by birth. I was born in Memphis.

FOSL: Hmm.

JONES: I left Memphis at an early age. I was seven years old, coming to Louisville, because my father had found employment here. He was a construction worker, laborer. And I came to Louisville at the age of seven, and entered the second grade at Frederick Douglass Elementary School. So I claim Louisville as home base because I'm a product of the Louisville School System. Graduating from Central High School, which was then at Eighth and Chestnut, the only black high school in Louisville. I came through segregation time in 1951. Well, I'm fifty- 1:00eight years old. And my story how I joined the civil rights movement is kind of strange. I came through a segregated school system, and I would pass by three or four white schools in the morning, getting to our school. But our pride was so instilled in us, and we had such a determination for education during that time. And knowing the barriers that was against us, that I, I never really paid any attention that I was passing these white schools.

FOSL: Right.

JONES: I went straight to my school, and we was very--as I said, we was very proud. When I finished Central High School, it was just the beginning of the ending of segregated schools. Our only college, which was Municipal College, had closed, and they had merged with The University of Louisville. But I wanted to kind of get away from home. And I had read some good things about IU on the academic level, but 2:00never had any inkling of the social atmosphere that would be on the campus. But anyway, I left Louisville, I went to IU--1951, in the latter part of '51, which was September. And I would come home, only had classes Monday through Thursday. So that gave me an opportunity to come home for a long weekend.

FOSL: Um-hm.

JONES: And my brother, he's seven years older than I. And he was driving. And we had a car. He would come and pick me up Thursdays around 11:30 or 12:00, and I'd come back to Louisville. So, you know, socially--

FOSL: How far is it?

JONES: IU is just about, I'd say, maybe 150 miles from here.

FOSL: Okay.

JONES: Up to Bloomington. And he'd come pick me up, and I'd come home, have a good time with my friends on the weekend, those that didn't go off to school. And the social conscience was never called to my attention. So I was doing this so much and so often, at (laughs) the 3:00end of the school year, my mother said I just had to make up my mind what I was going to do. "You gonna either go there and stay and come (laughs) home on holidays because it's quite expensive--" No Pell grants at that time.

FOSL: Right.

JONES: "--or find you a school here at home." So I decided that I wasn't ready to really, really be away from home. So I came and I enrolled in the University of Louisville. And I did a, a year there. And the next school year, I needed a course in P.E. And I wanted something easy, something that I didn't have to work hard with, so I signed up for bowling. And--only to be told, when I carried my little introduction card to the instructor, only to be asked the question of where would I bowl? That's one of the things that really, really kind of knocked me out. Yes, where would I bowl? There was no open housing law, no public accommodation law, still segregated facilities, restaurants and that 4:00kind of thing.

FOSL: And so this would have been in '52?

JONES: Yes. And then I kind of swallowed that a little bit, and went on and taken a course in fencing. But I wanted to try to help my mother with--and father with tuition. So there was a job in the office in the administration building for a, a secretarial position. Well, and my skills were good. I knew that. So I applied for this job and went for an interview. And when I went and the interview, seeing that I was black, the first thing he did was ask me to fill out another application--he had displaced it. So I did that because I think what was in his mind that was me being black, there was no way in the world my handwriting was as legible and as real pretty as it was. Because my mother started people (??) writing at the age of five. And I had very, very good penmanship. So I filled out another one, and it was the same 5:00as the first one I had given to him. And he said, "Well, you know," he says, "all your skills and everything's good." He says, "But those ladies won't work with you. I just can't put you out there with those ladies." Those ladies were white ladies, white students. And that's when it just--I just got the filled up (??). I left that campus that day, I left the University of Louisville. I don't think I even checked out, I didn't withdraw, I didn't do--I was mad. Wasn't no angry in me, wasn't no upset in me. I was just mad. And that was the first time that social consciousness hit my mind that, "Hey, these folks has got a, a war between black folk and, and, and white folk, and they takin' black folks' money on this campus and making a mockery out of--out of education equally."

FOSL: Right.

JONES: And that's when I began to do little things. Well, I started off 6:00doing things on my own, speaking out against some of the things that I had faced, or when I would encounter some kind of, of racial situation, I would speak about it. Then I began to realize that I was just, just one lone soul out there in the wilderness, and you can't do that. You need to be in some kind of organized structure. And at that time, the Black Workers Coalition, that was, this was around 1950--'55, '56, the Black Workers Coalition was coming into making, and they were doing a lot of good things, and, and, and I wanted to be a part of that. So I went over to several, several meetings and joined the Black Workers Coalition.

FOSL: Will you tell me a little bit about that organization. I don't know about it.

JONES: The Black Workers Coalition was an organization of, of black people workers. Workers in plants, day workers, all kinds. As long as you were a worker. And even if you wasn't a worker, but you thought about being a worker, that you could join this organization. And 7:00during that time, well, G.E. plants was open, and, well, of course blacks belonged to the union, but we have to be truthful. The union really wasn't representing us like it should have done. And we were--

FOSL: That was after the militant wing and the CIO had been kicked out?

JONES: Yes. So what happened, the Black Workers un-, the Black Workers Coalition began to address these issues, striving for African Americans that had been discriminated against filing EEOC charges. And those are the kind of things. Workers could come in with complaints. And we began to address them, make them public, bring them to the eyes of our community of what certain plants and things were doing. And I liked that I was one of the persons that did a lot of the office work in Black Workers Coalition. And I also filed a lot of, of EEOC complaints. Then there was a, a great guy in this organization. I 8:00don't know if you met him or not, Bob Cunningham. And--

FOSL: Yeah, I have met him.

JONES: Bob was there. And Bob is just such--he, he's so dynamic. And when he talks, his flow of words just intrigue you. And I became wanting to be like Bob Cunningham. And I wanted to be able to, to speak out and, and, you know, clarify all the issues like Bob was doing. So I kind of gotten under Bob's wing and worked along with Bob in the Black Workers Coalition. Then, bam, Bob was gone. During the time of--we were just beginning to kind of talk about busing. And people were all up in the air.

FOSL: What years are we talking about?

JONES: We're talking about now the early part of--the latter part of the fifties, around the--starting into the early sixties.

FOSL: Okay.

JONES: Bob was in an organization, the Kentucky Alliance against Racist and Political Repression. He left and went to this organization. And 9:00I saw him a couple of times on the street. He said--well, this day, he said, "Why don't you come and visit?" He said, "We're doing some great things there, too." And I said, "Well, okay. I get a chance, I'll come visit." So I guess I made three or four visits. And I went on and decided to join. But during this time, when I decided to join, we had already been--we had gotten into the part of, of the South that led the movement--that brought the movement here to Kentucky. Martin and, and Jose and, and, and all of that crowd had, had already began the marches, the marches for open housing and public accommodation had already been established here in Louisville. So I need to back up a little bit and talk about my participation there. Well, I participated--went to jail, I think, the last time, I think about twenty some times.

FOSL: Wow.

JONES: But I wasn't a member of any organization. I was a member of 10:00my church.

FOSL: And that was about what, '62, '63, '64?

JONES: Around '60--starting in '62.

FOSL: Okay.

JONES: Around '62. I was a member of St. George Episcopal Church.

FOSL: Um-hm.

JONES: And we were really a social concern justice church. My priest was leading a lot of the, the marches.

FOSL: And who was that?

JONES: Father Charles B. Tackhom (??).

FOSL: Right.

JONES: And that, that was a sermon from the pulpit on Sunday mornings as arousing our social minds that we were able to participate in the--all the demonstrations. So I did this not with an identified organization such as Black Workers or NAACP or Urban League or some of those structured place-, organizations. I was with my church. And--

FOSL: Um-hm. Hmm.

JONES: --and I, I hadn't really met Bob to, to get into the Alliance.

FOSL: Right.

JONES: But at the heartbeat of, of busing--Bob and, and them became 11:00very, very--Bob and Anne and, and Beverly Morgan and all of those folk, began to get real, real active, and some real bad things were beginning to happen.

FOSL: In the busing?

JONES: In the busing.

FOSL: Now that's up to '75.

JONES: Um-hm.

FOSL: Right.

JONES: Yes. We went through the, the public accommodation--the open housing law, and got that grounded.

FOSL: Now you never met Anne during all that time?

JONES: I never met Anne during that time.

FOSL: Tell me this--

JONES: I heard of Anne. [telephone rings]

JONES: The only thing I had had--I had heard some things about Anne and Carl.

FOSL: Tell me about those things you'd heard.

JONES: Oh, they were ter--

FOSL: When you first hear--I mean were you here in '54?

JONES: Oh yes. Yes. Um-hm.

FOSL: So tell me about what you heard. It must have been--must have been starting then at least.

JONES: Yes. Oh, some horrible things. They were communists. And they were dangerous to black people and, and stay away from them because, you know, you would end up being investigated by the FBI. 12:00And they were handing out prisons--sentences. And don't even take any literature from these people. Just stay away from them. They were taboo. Stay away from those people, they were bad people.

FOSL: Do you think that was the thinking about them, even like in the Black Workers Coalition?

JONES: Yes it was, even with black people, more so, because we already knew that we had things that was happening to us just as--speaking out a little bit. But to get tied up with a, with a, with, with some communist people, my god, you know--

FOSL: Right.

JONES: --you would be totally destroyed. But it wasn't a frightening for me to, to think about Anne and Carl. It was just that to seek them out, you know.

FOSL: Right.

JONES: To see what they were all about. I remember when they bombed the Wades' home. And that really created a hysteria in, in the, in the black community to the point of it was never a point that blacks should be able to live anywhere they wanted to, if they were able to 13:00purchase this home from Carl and Anne Braden, fine. They should have that right. That was never an issue that was prompted. The issue was this white communist family bought this home for some black people, to set them up.

FOSL: And do you think that was believed in the black community?

JONES: That was believed in the black community. That's what they heard. That's what the media said. That's what the black community believed.

FOSL: Wow. Hmm. Because that--

JONES: And--

FOSL: --that really squares with what Andrew Wade said. But I have--

[Pause in recording.]

JONES: --in the black community. And at that point in time, I was still with the black workers. And I had not really personally met Anne or Carl. And the communist scare did not bother me. I, I've never been a scary (??) person anyway. If I really had time, because I was raising children all this time, too, and--

FOSL: Yeah. I wanted to hear. Like you must have been getting married 14:00and raising children around this time, or--

JONES: Getting married. I'd gotten married and, and had--I think when I first started on demonstrations, we had two children. Maybe two or three. Two boys and one girl. Merlin (??) would have been one of those kids.

FOSL: And you're still married to the same man.

JONES: Still married to--

FOSL: That's a feat in itself these days.

JONES: (laughs) Still married to the same man. And I was doing all of these things, but I still had that social conscience. So when--after we came through the open housing and public accommodation and got that battle won, well, it was kind of a relaxation period--at least for me, and, and many other blacks. It was a--kind of a relaxing thing of--as if we--we've won the battle. But we didn't see what laid ahead.

FOSL: Right.

JONES: We, we just didn't have that, that extra sense to be like Martin, to look over the mountaintop and see everything that was in that pit 15:00that was gonna hit us in the face. So after it began to something happening, number one thing that happened here that knocked us off our feet was the reaction of racist bigot white folk to the integration of the school system.

FOSL: Right.

JONES: And to see the Klan come out, you know, in full gear--it wa-, it was really an awakening period to say, "Hey look, we, we didn't do nothin'." And then the high law (??) of this, we still couldn't live where we wanted to live, because little things was beginning to happen when black people moved into these white neighborhoods. So we--I met Bob one day, and he said to me, he says, "Why don't you come by and visit the Alliance, and, and we're going to speak at the school board a night--tonight against this horrible situation of busing."

FOSL: And what year would this have been?

JONES: Sixty-five, sixty-six?

FOSL: Sixty-five?


JONES: Sixty-four? Sixty-four? I'm horrible with dates. I think '64.

FOSL: Because I thought the large scale busing in Louisville didn't start until the seventies.

JONES: They began to work on bussing '64, '65.

FOSL: Okay.

JONES: No, no, take that back. Let's see, Aida (??) was in fifth grade. I would say around '67.

FOSL: Okay.

JONES: Because my number six child was beginning to enter the fifth grade.

FOSL: Okay.

JONES: Okay. Around '67. Because what had happened is that time--all my kids had went to integrated schools anyway. Because the, the, the education for west end children was zero. So we were taking a higher level education. And what we did was a volunteer busing deal. We applied [telephone rings] for our children to go to certain schools.

[Pause in recording.]

FOSL: We were back to Bob asking about coming to the Alliance.


JONES: All right.

FOSL: Oh no, you were telling me about voluntary busing of your children.

JONES: Okay, so what we did, we put some in the east end section of the city, Highland Junior High, Belknap Elementary, and they went on to Atherton School.

FOSL: Right.


FOSL: Which is over there by where I've been staying.

JONES: Um-hm. Yes, right over by Allison's.

FOSL: Right.

JONES: I had two of my children that finished Atherton. The third--the first girl and the second girl.

FOSL: This ----------(??).

JONES: Yes, Merlin and Motta (??). Then the two boys--well, racism was kind of subtle (??) at Atherton. But it was there. And I remember one child, Michael--seen it, felt it, and went through Atherton to the eleventh grade, and then just got fed up. So he withdrew.

FOSL: Wow.

JONES: And--he enrolled himself in Flaget, a Cath-, not Flaget--oh 18:00goodness, can't think of the name of that school. But it's an all boys' Catholic school.

FOSL: Is it Bishop Davis?

JONES: No, it's not Bishop. It's DeSales. DeSales, out in the south end, where we had a lot of problems, but he wanted to go out to DeSales. And he was kind of alone. I think there were only two African-American kids there at that time. But he managed to do his year and, and graduated the only--the first graduate, African American graduate, in fifteen years, I think, out of that school.

FOSL: Right.

JONES: So they made it quite a big celebration when Michael said he was very comfortable there. Then when Derek became a senior, he did not want to go to Atherton, he wanted to come down to Flaget, which was another all boys' Catholic school.

FOSL: But here in the west end.

JONES: It's in the west end.

FOSL: Right.

JONES: So he came to Flaget. And he finished from Flaget.

FOSL: Now what was the racial makeup of Flaget?

JONES: It was better than DeSales because, during that time, the year 19:00after Derek enrolled there, another Catholic school, girls' school, Loretto, closed down, and they mingled girls and boys.


JONES: They made it coed. So Loretto had quite a few black kids.

FOSL: Um-hm.

JONES: So that kind of brought up the ratio there at Flaget. [telephone rings] And then I don't know what happened.

[Pause in recording.]

FOSL: I'm not sure where we were.

JONES: We were--

FOSL: Oh, talking about your son.

JONES: Uh-huh. And how they, they transferred and went to different schools--

FOSL: Right.

JONES: --after dealing with racism in a very solemn way. You know how you kind of do that little institutionalized trick. But they were able to discover it. And they, they handled it real well. Michael was very vocal. Mike was more vocal than Derek. Derek's kind of an easygoing guy: "I won't rock the boat unless you rock me."

FOSL: Right.

JONES: But Michael's one of those speaker-outs. He'd gotten put out three or four times. NAACP had been up to school and made them take 20:00him back in.

FOSL: Right.

JONES: So when he just got fed up, he went to DeSales. And Derek decided he would go to Flaget.

FOSL: And they both did fine--


FOSL: --maybe better in the Catholic schools.

JONES: They did fine. And that--well, at that time, I had four out of school. And the busing had began to, to come into place. Aida and Minette (??)--both Grace, Grace, Tappy (??) and Aida and Minette. I had two in high school, two in elementary school. And oh, they were carrying on, doing terrible things. I mean white folks went crazy. Racist white folks went absolutely crazy. They even threatened the businessmen on Dixie Highway, if they didn't put this sign saying they were against busing in the windows, they'd come back at night and break the windows and things out. So I went several times, on several delegations, to Valley High School, and there was an elementary school 21:00out that way and, you know. But I never had joined in with, with another organization working on the busing issues directly. I'd spoken to school board a couple of times and that kind of thing. So finally, when the busing got calmer and I sit down within my own self and began to, to evaluate what was really happening here, in, in, in my own home, you know. I started going to the Alliance, I--just to visit. I think this was in--this was in the seventies. I had joined the Alliance, I think, 1975.

FOSL: That was the year of the big busing thing, of Progress in Education and--

JONES: Yes, PIE. It was PIE. But I wasn't--no, it must have been a little later than '75. Because we'd gotten through PIE. And sit down--PIE was gotten through. And that was the very beginning of the 22:00Alliance.

FOSL: I see.

JONES: When I began to visit, then I decided to join. I had an old membership card here. As I told you, I'm terrible with dates. I had my old membership card, my first membership card. I don't remember now. In fact, I put it up to keep it when I first became part of, of the Kentucky Alliance. And all of it was through the efforts of, of Brother Bob in inviting me. Because people began to, to kind of know me from my, my solo actions, you know, of making myself present when I felt like it was needed, and, and, and speaking out, and not identifiable as nothing but, at that time, was a concerned citizen. And, and, and, and a, and a mother, rai-, raising--

FOSL: Right.

JONES: --starting a young family. And I didn't want these things definitely to happen with my children. I just couldn't stand that. So after I joined the Alliance, I, I worked with them for a while. I 23:00think I was there maybe a year or two.

FOSL: And had you met Anne by that time?

JONES: By that time, I had met Anne at--

FOSL: Can you remember meeting her?

JONES: Uh, just seeing her there. Well, in fact, what had happened in--during that time--I'd seen her three, four times, maybe more, coming out of the building, SCEF building over there. I didn't know it was the SCEF building. During that time, I had that communist--they told me all that communist stuff, too. And I didn't go over to those buildings. I saw a lot of action. And that's what really fascinated me was the action. All day, all night, people were going. And finally, I asked, "What, what's happening with the building?" You know, I--people, people (??)--and I asked the news reporter. I think his name was ----------(??). And I said, "Then, I'm gonna probably need to talk to those folk." Because I was having some problems working in city 24:00government. So I was under the--

FOSL: Now you're meaning you were employed in the city government?

JONES: Yeah, I was employed in the city government. (laughs)

FOSL: What did you do?

JONES: I was what they called a weights and measures investigator. And oh, that was an awakening, because I'd come through the West End and found such great differences in the weight of meat packages in the A & P Kroger stores than it was. Everything was acrid in the east end--even to bread was not up to code. At least four or five slices short of having the sixteen ounce pound load (??). But see, we had the authority to condemn it, send it back. So--

FOSL: That's great.

JONES: I, I did a lot of that. And it didn't make me very popular. But it didn't make any difference. I did what I was told to do, and I did what I felt was right. If they were wrong, they were wrong. So I kind of asked this guy Phillip Trade (??), Phillip True (??), or something, what went on. And then I said, "Well, maybe that's where I need to be- 25:00-there." But I never got around to going over to the old SCEF building, but I'd seen Anne several times. Oh, then when it really brought it to my attention before I started the Alliance--Anne wrote a letter of intent to join St. George's Church. That's where I belonged. So we have kind of a little board, you know. And so that afternoon, they called a meeting of this board. And I was on this board to talk about the application of Anne Braden. (Fosl laughs) Now to show you how that communist has trickled down--

FOSL: Right.

JONES: --as, as, as, as Ronald Reagan said. That it was still in the hearts and minds of people. People were frightened. Black people were frightened. And they were wondering if she should become a member of this church. Father Tackhom's (??) direction was very clear. His instructions to all of us was very good. My outlook on it was, I mean, this is a church. How can you deny a person membership? You know. 26:00And to an institution that's supposed to be for the goodness and the righteousness, you know, of, of building a kingdom. So if you build God's kingdom, you got to build your kingdom here on Earth, too. So how do you deny people of this? So Anne was accepted into the church.

FOSL: Now do you know what year that might have been?

JONES: No, ask Anne what year she came to St. George.

FOSL: Oh, I'm sure she'd remember.

JONES: Yeah. I was one--working, raising children.

FOSL: You think like early seventies, late sixties?

JONES: Um-hm. It was early seventies. Early seventies. Father Tackhom (??) come there and was doing great work. He'd been there, he came through the demonstrations and all. But after that, I began to go to the Alliance, and I saw Anne. And--

FOSL: Oh, what was--so your position was she [doorbell rings] should be admitted?

JONES: That's right, take Anne into the church. How you gonna deny 27:00anyone?

[Pause in recording.]

JONES: So Anne became a member of the church, and I began to see Anne at, at the Alliance meetings. And one of the things that really, really impressed me so with Anne was here is a white woman--and at that time, I didn't know she was from Alabama.

FOSL: Right.

JONES: But here's this white woman--has put herself on the line for black folk. If she can do this, how come I can't help myself too?

FOSL: (Fosl laughs) Right.

JONES: And, and join in and, and the Alliance was, was multiracial at that time. And there were white people there on one side, and black on the other side, and all coming together, working for ills of, of, of this community. And that was very impressive. The communist thought never hit my mind then. I just wanted to be a part of this group and work for social change.

FOSL: Now, I'm showing my ignorance here, but I really haven't gotten up to this period in my research, you know, in just my reading and 28:00clippings and her papers and everything, and even talking with her. But had--when had the alliance been founded? And didn't she help to found it?

JONES: She helped to find--I wasn't involved in the founding of it. But Carl and Anne both--see, I came on board, Carl was--had passed.

FOSL: So Carl had already died by the time you--

JONES: Yes. That--from the time that I had met Anne and began to work with Anne. But--from the history that I read and have heard as being a member on the executive board--

FOSL: Right.

JONES: --and worked very closely, too, with Angela Davis, that--after the freedom of Angela, that the Alliance was formed.

FOSL: Right.

JONES: Because they seen such a great need for an organization that could fight racism and political repression. And Anne and Carl were in the founding days of, of, of the Alliance. And Anne's still here. 29:00(laughs)

FOSL: Right.

JONES: A legend of her time. And still doing the same things that she was doing sixty-some years ago. But, you know, what, what is so not only impressive--what is such an awakening for, for people that have met Anne, that have heard Anne, to see that, you know, Anne--it's nothing on (??) Anne's world but making a change and making a better America.

FOSL: Um-hm.

JONES: A woman that has given up family and everything. A woman that could have had money, that came out of a, a middle class white home in Alabama, that became a journalist.

FOSL: Um-hm. Could have been very successful--

JONES: And, and with her very good skills, she could have been a very successful woman. But materialistic things means nothing to Anne. Nothing stands in the way of Anne trying to do all she can, and using all her skills that she has, to make social change. And, and I, I love 30:00her dearly.

FOSL: Um-hm.

JONES: I, I just admire her. I just love her dearly for the--and all of the mistreatment and the abuse, physically and verbally that she has taken, and still maintains her same standard, you don't find too many folks like that.

FOSL: Right.

JONES: Black or white folk, that can stand up for justice and fight injustice and racism, as she has done. And she's a remarkable woman, and she is strong in her beliefs. And she has been my role model.

FOSL: Well, it seems to me that you've come to be about her closest friend, or--

JONES: Yeah.

FOSL: --right up there. So, you know.

JONES: Yeah. We are very good friends. When Beth, her daughter, was having her first baby, she called me and she said, "I, I, I just can't--I, I just can't do it. You're gonna have to go with me or help me or you going to have to go." So I went to the delivery room--I went to the labor, through labor and delivery (laughs) with Anne. And, you 31:00know, I think she's given up everything for social change. Beth was in the delivery room, in the labor room, in labor, and her mother's such a good journalist, passes her a book, "Read this, Beth." (laughs) "This'll help you, read this." (laughs) I said, "Anne, as much pain as you are in during labor, you don't want a book." (laughs)

FOSL: Okay, so you were just talking about the labor.

JONES: So she gave Beth this book. (laughs) So I, I told her, I said, "Anne, Beth don't need no book to read at this time." (Fosl laughs) So Anne and I stayed through--she didn't think she's gonna be able to do it. But I was right with her and Beth the whole time. And after Beth delivered, she knew I had a meeting at the school board. And after we see the baby was healthy and all, she said, "You go on to the meeting now." (Fosl laughs) So off I went up to the school board again for-- [telephone rings]--for a meeting. That's the kind of kind person she is.


[Pause in recording.]

FOSL: So you had told me about the birth of Alice.

JONES: Yes. And she was so proud. And she had said to me, she says, "You know," she says, "with all the work I have to do, I think I'm gonna have to be one of those pat on the head grandmothers, 'cause I just can't give a lot of time. I don't have any time. Really, I don't have any time for grandchildren." But she turned out to be a wonderful grandmother, a wonderful grandmother. And I was reading Alice's-- little book she wrote on Alice's future, said she wanted to be a writer or an artist. So Anne's work has rubbed off--

FOSL: Right.

JONES: --on her grandchildren--on her grandchild. That's--but, you know, I said that and all to say just the kind of person she is. And another incident, when she broke her arm, she fell, I think ----------(??).

FOSL: This was just a year or two ago.

JONES: Yeah, uh-huh. And, and broke her arm. And, and here she is, at the orthopedic telling him, "Well, you can't put the cast on my 33:00fingers. You gonna have to leave the--my fingers out. I gotta be able to use my typesetter." Never stopped.

FOSL: Right. (Fosl laughs)

JONES: Never stopped with this arm in a cast. And she was able to manipulate and use a--

FOSL: Wow.

JONES: But see, that is love, and that's true dedication. And you don't find it often. And when you find it, it, it, it is an example of--for, for black people--it's a challenge for black people to want to fall in line, to, to do a better job on working toward making a better world for, for those of us that is in that racist and, and sexist and, and classist rules and regulation that white America has set out for us. But she's just such a good friend of mine. One person said to me, said, "Why did you go to work for FOR?" Said, "Anne has a vacancy in 34:00SOC. And they're looking for an executive director," which I had been a regional traveler for SOC for--

FOSL: Right, I know this one.

JONES: --a number of years. I said, "Let me tell you this. It would be very hard for me to work in that capacity, working side-by-side with Anne." Because we're, we're more than working partners. We're good friends. We're just really good friends. And one time several years, many years ago, Anne used to handle me very carefully.

FOSL: Huh.

JONES: Because she did not really want to offend me in any kind of way. But we'd become so close, that she'll call me up and cuss me out in a minute on the phone. (both laugh) I'll tell you the incident in Birmingham at Miles College, one weekend we had a heck of a workshop. And she sent me to the package liquor store to get some liquor because they were closed on Saturday or Sunday, some day. So I did. I went 35:00and got it. And I just put it in the back of the room. So another one of our workers, Pat Bryant (??), and some minister (laughs) opened it up and almost drank it all. So the first thing Anne said to me, "What the hell did you give my damn liquor away for?" (laughs) And I had to try to go through this, explaining that I didn't. But anyway, she was still upset about all this liquor being gone that I, I accused her of coming across Miles campus and feeling every bump in this little Datsun car, and with me being as tall, my head is already up to the top. (Fosl laughs) Every time she'd hear the bump, bam, my head would go right up ----------(??) going through the top. I told her that was my punishment. But many, many years ago, when I first started out, she was not that comfortable, and we didn't have the good relation. We had a good working relationship. But it's moved beyond that.

FOSL: So y'all really kind of got to be friends through your work in the Alliance.

JONES: Through the work through the Alliance and, and through the church and all. And we've become to be looked upon in this community 36:00as a team. And anytime they look for Anne, they look for Matt. And we've been honored together several times as, as a, as a team, Anne and I together. So, really some folks look upon the movement here in Louisville as being Anne and Mattie.

FOSL: Um-hm. And--hang on. So in recent years--okay, first it started out that you worked together in the Alliance. And, and then how did you get involved in SOC, or when?

JONES: Well, Anne was going, going to some meetings. Anne is a person that, if you stay around her, she'll have you working.

FOSL: Oh, right.

JONES: So one afternoon, the, the SOC board meeting was coming off and she asked me to go to Alabama to the SOC board meeting. And from attending some of the SOC board meetings, I became involved with SOC. Because SOC was working deeply in the South, you know. It's a South, 37:00South-based organization that does a lot of networking. And I was there. I don't know how many years--I just attended, and was--got placed on the executive board. Before that, I was asked to become a regional traveler. But that, that's how I became involved in SOC, again, through Anne. Anne will broaden the work. Anne will broaden your vision if you stay around her. I don't know anyone that has been in the Alliance that hasn't grown.

FOSL: Um-hm.

JONES: If you stay around Anne Braden, you're gonna grow. You can't sit around her and sit still.

FOSL: Well--[beeping noise] what--you've mentioned a little bit about this challenge of her life, that her life poses to people. But how would you characterize her, you know, her place in history in Louisville? How would you characterize her roles that she's played here? 38:00I mean there was this communist tag, and there was a lot of fear. And, and then she's kind of come--I mean there's still that in some corners, but now she's come around to, you know, being honored. And she got this big ACLU award, and duh, duh, duh, duh, duh. So it's changing, you know. And, and I wondered what you had to say about that.

JONES: Anne Braden made it change. Because with all of, of the power to be that was totally against her and Carl, she never gave up. She never let nothing stop her from the work of the movement. Whatever you said about her in meetings, that she was not invited to--and she would come anyway. And people would say things about her, but she would stay anyway. And see, that's some strength that I don't have. (laughs) And 39:00that takes an awful lot of strength to see people insult you, ban you.

FOSL: Um-hm.

JONES: But you still keep coming. And, and it's not for yourself. Because she could have did things for herself.

FOSL: Right.

JONES: She didn't have to live without money. Her family would have given her money. She gave up her family for all and being a part of building a, a, a better America. And, and Anne is history.

FOSL: Yeah, she is. Well, what--

JONES: Because before there was a movement in the South, before Rosa sit down and refused to give up her seat, before King started to marching across the country, there was Anne Braden talking to white folk.

FOSL: Right.

JONES: And not only was she hated and, and, and, and, and, and 40:00assassinated character-wise by white folks, she got it from black folks, too, but she still kept knockin' on the door.

FOSL: Hmm.

JONES: So what else can you do for a person like that?

FOSL: Right.

JONES: You've got to respect her.

FOSL: Well, you know, one thing I've been trying to figure out, I mean, I know all the reasons for it. I mean she told me, I've read her papers, I've read her book, I've talked to many people that know her. But you seem to know her better than other people. And how would you place the root of this, this passion, you know? It, it has been her whole life.

JONES: Something--

FOSL: A passion for justice.

JONES: It didn't--she wasn't born with it. I don't know if she's ever told you the story or not, that how she joined the Other America.

FOSL: Yeah, she has.

JONES: Okay. Anne was not--

FOSL: Or I've heard her give speeches about it. She's not maybe talked 41:00into a tape recorder about it, which I hope she will.

JONES: Anne, what happened to Anne, you know, you've heard people talk about getting religion, how something turned their whole life around, and that there was that particular day in Alabama at the [beeping sound] courthouse that spoke to Anne, that shifted her whole life around. It turned her whole thinking. It, it brought into being a new Anne Braden. And, and th-, I say that because that's what happened to me. How I pass all of these white schools, how I was so dedicated to my school, so proud of my school--I thought things were all right. You know, I kind of comfortable on this is the way things should be. And I lost that. And, and Anne Braden also lost that. You know, it takes an awful lot to really get ostracized from your family.


FOSL: Yes.

JONES: Especially from your mother and your father.

FOSL: Right.

JONES: You know, you can halfway deal with it with sister, brother, you know, and other folks out in the community saying you're crazy and, and kind of pushing you to the side view (??). But when it comes to mother and father, that, that's a terrible hurt--hurt feeling. But it never deterred her. She kept right on. Because really, truthfully, that day, Anne was reborn. And I, I, I feel like everybody that has joined the social justice movement has to be reborn. Something's got to speak to you. Something's got to change you and, and set your axel on a new angle and a new direction in life. And with what has happened to Anne, Anne is an inspiration, not only to white people, but Anne is 43:00an inspiration to black people. You can't do anything but respect her. Even if you still say she's a communist, she's a good communist because she's speaking out, challenges in (??) white America on their job.

FOSL: Right. So would you say she's earned her the respect of the black community here?

JONES: She's earned every bit of it from the black community to the white community. Anne Braden has earned it all. Nobody's given her anything. If she had of accepted what they had to offer her when she began to first get involved and to work for social change, she would have been sitting down today. She wouldn't even been living on Virginia Avenue, which is in a black community.

FOSL: Right.

JONES: She'd been long gone. So she's earned everything she's--

FOSL: Well, I guess what I mean to say is do you think she has it now?


JONES: I do.

FOSL: The respect of the black community?

JONES: I do. Because there--the time that it really came through is when we were working the first time Jesse Jackson ran, and we were working for delegates to the--convention. I think there were three blacks that were nominated. And all of a sudden, a black Presbyterian minister hit the floor and nominated Anne Braden, and unanimously, (snaps) the vote carried.

FOSL: Huh.

JONES: So that said an awful lot that--and I told her this. I said, "This said an awful lot to me that day that you were nominated." And she was a delegate.

FOSL: Um-hm.

JONES: Now your work together in the eighties--I just frankly don't even know the questions to ask. But I mean, are there things that-- campaigns or personal stories, like the one you told me about the birth of Alice, the--are there other things that you think I should know that you could tell me?

JONES: Oh well, during the work of the eighties with Anne, it's, it's, 45:00it's been the same. She has--my, my, my whole self development is, is--I, I would give--more than half of it to Anne Braden. Because our constant work together with--as, as com-, as working partners, has been all of developing--seeing my skills and, and, and, and helping develop those skills, pushing me. That--that's one of my reasons that I was able to be accepted at, at FOR, not because I was black and they would have liked to had an African American replacement, but from the growth of, of, of, of the work that Anne has mold and shaped me into, made me very capable and qualified to work in, in, in the--in the program 46:00for FOR. And our work has continued. And we still continue. Because now with me going to FOR, a proposal came from SOC that, in the South, with SOC having such a, a base, a dynamite base in the South, there is a proposal that has been accepted by the executive board of the Fellowship of Reconciliation that I give a fourth of my time in the South working as FOR racial and economic justice person and regional traveler for the Southern Organizing Committee for Social and Economic Justice. And there wasn't a lot of debate about this, because they knew, too, the strength of Anne Braden. So not only does Anne Braden carry here locally, Anne Braden is a national and international name.


[Pause in recording.]

JONES: --most people are kind of shocked to see a small (??) person.

FOSL: Yeah. Have y'all had falling outs, or have you--have there been serious points of disagreement?

JONES: Oh, sure. We, we--(laughs) I tell you that--well, yes, we've had differences. Because there've been times there's been African American candidates running for political office and Anne and I have had a discussion and come out totally disagreeing. We disagree. And, and, and, and we fall out. In fact, well, I'll say this, I might talk about disruption within organizations. But there was one with myself and an African American man. And really, Anne did not support me. FOSL: Hmm.

JONES: She voted for the other side of maintaining the African American man. And one of the reasons is because Anne believes there's no 48:00enemies on the left or the right. You all got to be together. And I kind of got a deep feeling that she believes that I'm able to carry on my own, that I can stand on my own two feet.

FOSL: I would cer-, I am sure she does (laughs), believe that. (Fosl laughs) And I don't think anybody that knows you--

JONES: Right.

FOSL: --would have any doubt. (Fosl laughs)

JONES: She just would, would not vote for me because she felt like that it would keep me from being destroyed. She felt very strongly that I could--now this is my belief. I may be wrong about her, but I think she believed that I would be able to maintain my strength and come out the same person that I have always been. And that did happen. But we have had ----------(??). We have disagreements. We have them by phone, and we have them face-to-face. But we've always been able to sit down and see the wrong on both sides.

FOSL: Right.

JONES: And, and this is the kind of person she is.

FOSL: She's very patient. She will talk--


JONES: Um-hm.

FOSL: --and she will just--

JONES: Very patient. And very determined: "It's got to work, and I've got to get in there and get my message across."

FOSL: Um-hm. Was that your--do you think your early impressions of her when you first were kind of getting to know her a little bit have pretty much been borne out. I mean has your--was the--were these your first impressions of her, as well--other than--once you got past the whole red smear thing.

JONES: Um-hm. Well, my first impression when I first began to sit in meetings with her and see her articulate and how she was able to pile these issues in--was that impression at that time that, you know, if, if this little white woman can work--and I've known some of the abuse that she had suffered, mainly for my cause, because she didn't have to do this--

FOSL: Um-hm.


JONES: --then how come I, and how come I don't begin to strive and try to tie up issues and reach my people to bring about that social awareness that they need?

FOSL: Um-hm.

JONES: So she inspired me that you, you just got to struggle, you know. Freedom is not free.

FOSL: Okay. Is there anything else that I've not asked you that you think that I should know in doing this work with her?

JONES: Well, I think I've told you everything that I think you should know about Anne. You just don't find folks like Anne Braden.

FOSL: Um-hm.

JONES: It's almost like something impossible--

FOSL: Right.

JONES: --or something that has dropped out of space. That, that has 51:00maintained that will and, and that determination. And to give up all material things, and even to give up family ties, to work for social change.

FOSL: Um-hm.

JONES: And I say to a lot of people when I talk about Anne, "If this is Communism, then let me be communist. But if this is Christianity, let me be that kind of Christian."

FOSL: Um-hm. Okay.

JONES: If the world was like Anne Braden, if we could find some more Anne Bradens--

FOSL: Um-hm.

JONES: --there wouldn't be wrong (??).

FOSL: It sounds to me like she's often kind of kept you going, in a way, I mean just her, her inspiration.

JONES: Oh yes. There, there's been times that--(laughs)--"Anne, I'm not gonna do what you do. I'm tired. I'm going home. I'll see you." "You can't do that." You know. And she's been an inspiration for, for a lot 52:00of people, a lot of people. Through Anne, it has opened up a whole new world of just working with her (??).

FOSL: Um-hm.

JONES: And then when you hear her tie the issues in and talk about the responsibility of white folks in white America--

FOSL: Right.

JONES: --it shakes you up. You got to do something. She don't let you stay still.

FOSL: Right. Okay, well I've asked about a hundred different activists this question. And I'm gonna ask it of you. And it's not related to this book. I mean it could be. I mean you say that she's helped to keep you going. But the question that is really interesting to me for myself as an activist and others is what keeps you going. What keeps you going year after year? You've been at this a long time, yourself.

JONES: Well now what keeps me going, after I have been built, should like that the--my house is finished, with having that kind of strength 53:00and courage to carry on, and a determination of, of never turning back. That house is complete.

FOSL: Um-hm.

JONES: The thing that keeps me going now is what I see that's happening in, in, in, in my country and in, in, in other third world countries. The racism that is involved that denies people of color from what the Constitution supposedly have granted us, equal rights and equal justice and equality of life, I'm not finding that. And being a grandmother, at this time, it's pretty sickening to think of these things that my grandchildren will face, if I'm not out there.

FOSL: Right.

JONES: I know the work will not be completed in my day. But I have the satisfaction that I've kept my hammer going, you know, hammered in the morning, I hammered in the evening, I hammered sometimes all night long, of trying to make this, this, this greater day, this better day.


And then when I, you know, I know that we have leadership in this country which should be inspiring to every African American in this country that now 1991, we talking about a civil rights bill. We built this country. I mean Columbus came over here, invaded the Americas, took Indian slaves back that was not able to, to really survive, then reached back into Africa and got us. And we've built this with our own sweat and tears. We didn't ask to come here. We the only nation that came here against our will. And then you tell me something about a civil rights act? A voters' rights bill? That alone should upset every African American in this country to make a change. And to 55:00start hammering on these things. How you gonna vote for somebody like that? Look at the Supreme Court and then we talk about--we have to get affirmative action bill passed for us, and now we have white folks in this country talking about reverse discrimination. What kind of damn reverse discrimination?

FOSL: Um-hm.

JONES: Hell, we've always been on the totem pole, the lowest of the totem pole. We've always been the, the daggone last hired and, and the first fired. So these kinds of things that's happening in this country--I, I can't sit back. We're in a more crucial period in our time than we've ever been. And you take this country that gives a message to our young folk that all you can be is in the military. And I don't know why it didn't wake us up, young African Americans that 56:00talk about going into the military, all they have to do is read back what happened to Corporal Lindsey Scott. Young black American that really thought that he could be all he could be. And he and his family was crucified by the military system of this country. Sure, it taken us eight years to free him. But is he free? So even when I get tired and I just--I get disgusted and a little bell goes off in my head, and all of these things--I talk to myself in here. I--all of these things go through my mind. And I look at my oldest grandson sitting there. I've got to continue to work. From the spark that Anne first, and others like Bob Cunningham, Roosevelt Roberts (??) and all of those folk, Lois Brooks (??), that little--when they struck that first match 57:00and started that little fire--has now blown up in my mind to a huge, big furnace. And it burns every day.

FOSL: Okay. Well, I thank you.

JONES: Oh, thank you Cate.

[End of interview.]

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