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Sat, 09.08.1877

Fred T. Jones, Doctor and Activist

Dr. Fred T. Jones

*Fred T. Jones was born on this date in 1877. He was a Black Physician, administrator, and community activist.

Born in Homer, Louisiana, Jones was the oldest of eleven children in the family of Fred R. and Harriett E. Jones. Though the elder Jones owned land, he had to travel to Texas as a white man in order to buy the oil royalty rights to the property.  After attending Claiborne Parish School in Louisiana, Bishop College in Marshall, Texas, and Tuskegee Institute in Tuskegee, Alabama, the younger Jones graduated from Arkansas Branch Normal (now The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff). He received his Medical Degree from Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1905.

While studying at Meharry, (n 1904), Jones married Hattie McGraw.   The couple divorced soon after the birth of a daughter, Mable.  In 1907, Jones married Katie Lizzie Chandler fathering seven children; Helen, Myrtle, Fred, Katheryne, Mildred, Marie, and Booker.

Louisiana's laws of segregation prevented Jones from practicing medicine in Homer.  He then moved his family to Shreveport, Louisiana, where he founded the Mercy Sanitarium in 1915. At the urging of Dr. R. A. Williams, of Provident Hospital, Chicago, Illinois, he moved his family to Little Rock, Arkansas, where he established the Bush Memorial Hospital in 1918. Jones wanted to operate his hospital in the "Fraternal Hospital Fashion" where patients were members resulting in affordable healthcare.

In 1927 Dr. Jones bought the property in a predominantly Black area and opened the 100-bed capacity Great Southern Fraternal Hospital at 815 W. 9th Street where he operated as General Manager and Chief Surgeon for eight years. He copyrighted this 'hospital plan' on September 24, 1920, (Registered by the Copyright Office, Library of Congress, Under #575998).

Around 1921, Jones helped organize the Great Southern Mutual Life Insurance Company and served as its Medical Director until December 31, 1926, when it merged with the Universal Life Insurance Company of Memphis.   As a civic leader, Jones challenged the white members of the Little Rock Board of Education to improve the Black schools and education.  As a political leader, he sent a petition to President Franklin Roosevelt recommending the appointment of Honorable Brooks Hayes as United State District Judge for the Eastern District of Arkansas. Jones also authored two manuscripts: The Dangers Of An Unscreened House and The Progressive Man.
Dr. Fred Thomas Jones, Sr. Died on September 10, 1938, in Little Rock and is buried there at Haven of Rest Cemetery
References:

Griffin, Marie Jones. Dr. Fred Thomas Jones, Sr.
A Black Trailblazer, Outstanding Physician, and Surgeon, Dedicated Civic and Religious Leader, 1877-1938,
Chicago Publishing House, 1995.

Dr. Fred T. Jones, Sr. Collection:
Butler Center for Arkansas Studies,
Central Arkansas Library System, Little Rock, Arkansas

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