Photo credits: The Associated Press
On April 25, 2022, Johnnie Jones Sr., a pioneering civil rights lawyer and distinguished World War II soldier, died, according to reports. He was 102 years old.
As per an editorial published by CNN, state authorities presented him with the Purple Heart in the Old State Capitol in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Jones was conscripted into the Army in 1942 after graduating from Southern University. He was promoted to warrant officer junior grade a year later.
Jones was met with bigotry when he returned to the United States after the war. He was pulled over by a white police officer while traveling to New Orleans in 1946 to have shrapnel removed from his neck, according to a testimony Jones provided CNN during an exclusive interview.
Jones earned his law degree in 1953 and set out on a quest to use the law to fight back against a system that had denied him justice and equal rights. Rev. T.J. Jemison eventually asked him “to assist organize the United Defense League’s eight-day bus boycott in Baton Rouge and protect the demonstrators,” as he put it.
His two sons, a daughter, and a granddaughter, according to the VA, were all motivated by his legal skill. All of them went on to become lawyers in order to carry on their family’s tradition of pursuing justice.