Baton Rouge civil rights pioneer, WWII veteran, dies at 102

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) – Relatives say Dr. Johnnie A. Jones Sr., a civil rights attorney who played a key role in the 1953 Baton Rouge bus boycott, has died.

Mada McDonald, a goddaughter of Jones, said he died early Saturday morning, April 23, at the Veterans Facility in Jackson, Louisiana. He was 102 years old.

Johnnie A. Jones Sr.(WAFB)

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Johnnie A. Jones Sr. was born November 30, 1919, in Laurel Hill, Louisiana, where he was raised on Rosemound Plantation by his parents who farmed 73 acres of land. At 22, he was tested as the first black soldier for the position of warrant officer in the army. He returned from Mississippi to Louisiana during the Jim Crow South era and worked selling insurance to black families in the state. He was also very involved in the NAACP.

Last year, when he was 101, heads of state honored Jones with a Purple Heart. He was a World War II veteran who earned the Purple Heart honor for fighting while wounded on the beaches of Normandy.

Johnnie A. Jones Sr. is honored in June 2021 as a Purple Heart recipient at the age of 101.
Johnnie A. Jones Sr. is honored in June 2021 as a Purple Heart recipient at the age of 101. (WAFB)

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Jones has received numerous awards, certificates, plaques and medals during his life in the Baton Rouge community, and he has been recognized at the local, state, national and international levels, McDonald said.

“We truly appreciate his tireless work in the Baton Rouge community,” McDonald said.

His accomplishments and accomplishments include: Advocate and spokesperson for the 1953 Baton Rouge bus boycott; Sign post to Liberty; Odell S. Williams/ Sadie Roberts Joseph Museum Prize; special recognition from Governor John Bel Edwards; SAVE BR Youth Prayer Movement; a World War II veteran; Take a Stand for Justice-Award of Excellence; Southern University National Lawyers Guild – Pillar Award; President’s Award – Civil Rights Icon – LA Black Caucus Foundation; Louis A. Martinet Society – Lifetime Achievement; Purple Heart Award; Southern University Law Center – Conferred degree of Juris Doctor; recognized by the Louisiana Black History Hall of Fame; and the Baton Rouge chapter of The Links – Louisiana Role Model.

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Funeral arrangements for Jones are pending, McDonald said.

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