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Jones, Edward Perry(1872–1924) - Activist, minister, Moves from Business to the Ministry, Chronology, Figures Prominently in Fraternal Societies

baptist mississippi african americans

Born in 1872, Edward Perry Jones made a stunning contribution to the society when African Americans had many barriers that often prevented them from excelling. Jones was born at the end of the Reconstruction period when the many freedoms that African Americans enjoyed in that period were being revoked by the black codes and ultimately, the Jim Crow laws. Jones was born in Hinds County, Mississippi, on February 21, 1872. He was active in the social, educational, political, and religious affairs that propelled the lives of African Americans at that time. In all these spheres, Jones defended his beliefs as he voiced his opinions and planned and implemented programs that benefited blacks. Jones was involved in the education of his fellowmen. He promoted the good life for the African American community by challenging fractions in the society that tried to deter the growth of blacks.

In his early years Jones had a good role model in his father, George P. Jones, who was a prominent pastor. He performed his minister’s duties at the King Solomon M.B. Church in Vicksburg, Mississippi, and he was also an elder at the Missionary Baptist Church in Mississippi. Reverend Jones was very involved in the education of his sons, Edward Perry and St. Paul, especially after the death of his wife Louvenia. Edward was the older of the two boys, and his father sought the best education for him.

When Jones was eight years old, he was enrolled in the Alcorn Agricultural and Mechanical College in 1880. Jones remained at Alcorn College for one and a half sessions before enrolling in the public school, Vicksburg High, where he graduated as valedictorian of his class. Sadly, Jones’s father died before providing him with the total education that he needed. Fortunately, the Baptist Church sponsored Jones in furthering his studies. He attended the Baptist College for a short time, then he continued his studies at the Natchez College where he received his B.S. and was valedictorian of his class. After his graduation from Natchez, he entered Rust University where he gained his doctor of divinity degree in 1894.

After his graduation from Natchez, Jones made his mark as an educator. Jones was the principal of the Rolling Fork School in Mississippi for approximately five years. In this capacity, Jones developed educational programs for African Americans who were able to attend the segregated school. He promoted high quality education for African Americans, despite their being marginalized in white society. Jones joined the board of trustees for Natchez College where he unlocked the way for many African Americans who were not able to pay for their tuition.

Moves from Business to the Ministry

Jones was also a leader in the business world. He saw the need to protect the properties owned by African Americans. Jones became an insurance salesman and eventually was president of Union Guaranty Insurance Company. He sold insurance to African Americans, and he purchased property, which gave him financial clout. He owned real estate in the prime area in Tunica, Mississippi. At the beginning of the twentieth century, Jones’ property in the Mississippi area was valued at over $40,000, which was very high for an African American’s assets in that era.



Born in Hinds County, Mississippi on February 21


Enters Alcorn Agriculture and Mechanical College at eight years of age


Graduates from public high school


Graduates from Rust University with his doctorate in divinity


Ordained a minister on June 17, in Tunica County, Mississippi


Marries Harriet Lee Winn of Greenville, Mississippi, on November 19


Serves as grand master, Odd Fellows of Mississippi fraternity


Becomes first president of the National Baptist Convention of America, Unincorporated


Ends presidency in National Baptist Convention of America, Unincorporated


Dies in Mississippi

Jones was also involved in the African American division of the Baptist Church. After working as a principal, he followed in his father’s footsteps, entering the ministry. He was ordained a Baptist minister on June 17, 1894, in Tunica County. He fulfilled pastoral duties at the Forest Sale Missionary Baptist Church in Mississippi where his father had served as an elder. His next assignment was with the Fredonia Baptist Church, in Tunica, where he served for over three years. Within that time, Jones had built a modern worship facility for his congregation. He also served as a pastor for the congregation at the Mount Horeb Baptist Church in Greenville, Mississippi, and for King Solomon Baptist Church in Vicks-burg, Mississippi. Jones was even a pastor in Chicago, Illinois, for some time. The African American arm of the Baptist Church valued Jones for his dedication and service, and he was appointed to many positions in the organization. In fact, he became the recording secretary of the General Mississippi Baptist State Convention.

His name is adjoined to the National Baptist Convention of America, Unincorporated as Jones was given the privilege of being its first president. The National Baptist Convention of America, Unincorporated was formed after a disagreement aroused between E. C. Morris and Richard H. Boyd. Boyd was the head of the publishing board, and he fought for the independence of the publishing board from the National Baptist Convention—the African American Baptist organization. Boyd and his supporters formed the National Baptist Convention of America that later became the National Baptist Convention of America, Unincorporated. Jones was appointed president on September 15, 1915 because he supported Boyd wholeheartedly. In the dispute, he spoke effectively to build support for Boyd who was managing the publishing board that published all materials for the organization, and this entity was the most profitable arm of the organization. As president, Jones approached both African Americans and whites in the South and the North in order to improve the organization’s unity and to gain support. Jones adeptly led the National Baptist Convention based in Nashville, Tennessee, for eight years, and it was the most productive African American division of the Baptist organizations for that era. In 1923, a year before his death, Jones was succeeded by J. E. Woods during the eighth annual National Baptist Convention of America in Fort Worth, Texas.

Figures Prominently in Fraternal Societies

Jones played a prominent role in the social organizations. He was involved in several fraternal societies that were run by African Americans. He joined the Odds Fellow of Mississippi Fraternity. In 1901 he was elected grand master to this social organization. He was further elevated as he became grand director of the United Order of Odd Fellows of America. As a delegate of the organization, in 1907, Jones represented Odd Fellows of the United States in Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent, London, and in Paris, France. In addition, Jones was the supreme master of the Unified Reformers of America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. Jones served for five terms in this position. In the early 1900s, the Unified Reformers was the fastest growing African American fraternity. In addition, he was also a member of the Mason Lodge, Knights of Pythias.

Jones was also a force in the political arena. He represented his people and aired their views in the many political forums that he attended. Jones, a Republican, was a delegate at large to the National Convention in Chicago in 1908 and 1912. He was a Republican because the Republican Party was credited with the emancipation of slaves. He chaired the Mississippi State Convention in 1913. Jones encouraged African Americans to vote despite barriers, such as the poll tax and literacy tests, aimed at preventing African Americans from exercising their right to vote.

Jones was married to Harriet Lee Winn, a native of Greenville, Mississippi, on November 19, 1896. The union produced three boys. Jones died in Mississippi in 1924.

Jones, James Earl (1931–) [next] [back] Jones, Edward P.(1950–) - Writer, Lost in the City, The Known World, Chronology

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4 months ago

hello, i have just begun to put together a family tree.. i have been able to trace back through census records my great grandfather jeff thompson and great great grandmother margret thompson to cotton gin, port monroe mississippi. in the 1880 census it lists mar great as a widow.. we have been unable to find her husband/ my great grandfather "jeff's" father..

i found a newspaper notice dated 1878/79 that listed deaths from the yellow fever epidemic..i found a "Rev Jeff thompson, colored 30 years old "listed..then i found this post re: the church and pastors in Vicksburg..I know that the post is not about Rev Jefferson Thompson and is actually about Edward Jones ...but
We were wondering if there was any other info (good/orbad) re: jefferson thompson.

any help/info would be greatly appreciated.


martha thompson

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almost 5 years ago

I am the curator of the Jacqueline House African American Museum in Vicksburg, Mississippi.

According to Leading Afro-Americans of Vicksburg (1908) by Willis Mollison, Rev. G.P. Jones, the father of Edward P. Jones ,was elected pastor to succeed Rev. Jefferson Thompson late in the year of 1878 at King Solomon Baptist Church. pg. 68

In Milt Hinton’s book, Playing the Changes (2008) when Milt Hinton’s mother was a teenager she worked for Rev. Edward Perry Jones who was the minister at Mt. Heron, (probably Mt. Heroden Baptist Church). She even played piano for the choir. Hinton states that “because some important white people in Vicksburg found out Rev. Jones was telling his congregation to move north.” Hinton book also states that “they made sure he (Rev. Jones) understood that he had better get out of town as quickly as possible”. pg 9.

Hinton also stated that “when Edward Perry Jones’ family left for Chicago a couple of days later, he took Titter (Milt Hinton’s mother) and Aunt Pearl along.”

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about 5 years ago

I am the current pastor of the King Solomon Baptist Church in Vicksburg, Mississippi. Edward Jones' father did not pastor the King Solomon Baptist Church - according to the church's historical records. The other users' comments (Catherine) are probably right. It was most likely Mt. Heroden as Mt. Heroden was organized from a group of members who left King Solomon over 100 years ago. The two churches are within walking distance of each other and are both historical churches.

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over 6 years ago

I think some of the info is incorrect or missing. According to Vicksburg MS historic preservation office, Rev. Jones held a pastorate at Mt. Heroden church in Vicksburg in 1906, though I'm not sure how long he was there. He and his wife, Harriet, lived at 1501 Clay Street, not far from the church, which was recently demolished. He was also the manager or the Advocate Journal, an African American paper. I've been trying to find out more about this church, so that's why I was so interested. Thanks for filling in some bio info! Its much appreciated and will add to the info we have. Thanks again!