Dr. Richard Francis Jones was a pioneering urologist who helped pave the way for other Black specialists in his field. In 1936, Jones became the first Black diplomat for the American Board of Urology before a long medical career established at Howard University.
Jones was born February 6, 1897, in Washington, D.C. After being operated on for an inguinal hernia, Jones was inspired to pursue a career in the medical field. After high school, he enrolled at Howard University where he completed his undergraduate and graduate studies. He completed the doctorate program at Howard University by 1922, and went on to intern at Freedmen’s Hospital.
Jones practiced medicine in Washington, DC throughout his career. In 1923, he was appointed as assistant in gynecology and urology at Freedmen’s Hospital.
In 1936, he became the first African-American Diplomat of the American Board of Urology. He is the sixth African-American ever to become a board certified specialist in the U.S. At the time, black physicians were not allowed to join medical specialty societies, which kept them from working in most hospitals. Dr. Jones retired as medical director of Freedmen’s in 1970.