James Wormley Jones Pt. 2: The Red Scare and UNIA

0 Posted by - December 27, 2023 - Black History, BLACK MEN

When the war ended, Jack Jones returned home to Washington D.C to continuing being a detective. He put in an application to join the Bureau a year later in November 1919. At the time, the Bureau of Investigation–the successor of today’s FBI–was heavily investigating “subversive groups.”


Time in the Bureau of Investigation

Since the definition of “subversive” as it relates to the Bureau has always been broad, Jones entry made his a perfect agent. He would be assigned to monitor the activities of Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) leader Marcus Garvey. Going back to “subversive,” Wormley Jones–”Agent 800”–while working under J. Edgar Hoover was meant to bring back any intel on the spread of Communism and radical leftism in the U.S.

Hoover viewed Garvey’s activities as overlapping with his “Red Scare” campaign but with the Bureau being mainly–if not totally–White at the time, there was no way to investigate effectively. Jones would infiltrate Garvey’s organization in New York. His job would be made difficult in that he was light skinned and viewed as ambiguous by a number of those in UNIA.

Eventually, Jones would become close to those in the UNIA’s higher positions. This gave him access to important documents since he was responsible for handling correspondence. His work surveillance on the UNIA resulted in Garvey being put on trial for mail fraud.

Agent 800’s time with the Bureau came to an end in early 1923. His work now had him target the African Blood Brotherhood, the kind of organization Hoover definitely wanted intel on. He would work at making his way through the ranks since 1921, but as it would happen, he was pointed out as a former policeman. Compromised, the Bureau had nothing else for Jones and resigned on April 14, 1923.

Jack Jones would return to law enforcement after leaving the Bureau. He had a brother Paul Jones who served with him in WWI. Paul also served alongside his brother in D.C’s police department until 1936 when he died in the line of duty. Jones himself passed on December 11, 1958.


1 Comment

  • CET February 18, 2021 - 11:00 am

    This picture is not of James Wormley Jones. It is of a different black, historic figure with a similar name – the prominent, Black, Civil War era, DC hotelier James Wormley. Two completely different men. Please don’t conflate them.