Grace Morris Allen Jones (January 7, 1876 - 1928)
TEACHER, ADVOCATE, AUTHOR
Grace Morris Allen Jones was born in Keokuk, Iowa on January 7, 1876. She grew up a few miles north of her birthplace in Burlington, Iowa. She was married twice and worked with her second husband, Dr. Laurence Clifton Jones, to integrate schools. Ms. Jones and Laurence were married in 1912.
She was an educator and she taught at schools in northern Missouri and Illinois. Before she met and married Laurence C. Jones, she founded the Grace M. Allen Industrial School in Burlington, an integrated school. She later established the Piney Woods Country Life School in Piney Woods, Mississippi with Laurence.
Ms. Jones was also an active participant in clubs meant to advance women and more specifically, women of color. She served as President of the Mississippi State Federation of Colored Women’s Clubs from 1920 to 1924. Then, she served as a statistician for the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs in 1925.
Ms. Jones came from a family of well-known Iowans. Her grandmother was Charlotta Pyles, who was an abolitionist and speaker. Grace Morris Allen Jones wrote an article about her family’s journey under her married name, Mrs. Laurence C. Jones, in 1927. The article is entitled, “The Desire for Freedom,” and it recounts the story of Charlotta Pyles’ freedom from slavery, her trip north with her family, and her successful efforts to free other slaves. Ms. Jones was the daughter of Charlotta’s youngest daughter, Mary Ellen, who also made the journey from Kentucky to Iowa. She had two children of her own, Turner and Laurence Jr.
Authors: Allyn Benkowich and Kristen Corey, Office on the Status of Women
Photo credit: African American Museum of Iowa