Naming a post office | Arkansas Blog

Naming a post office

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U.S. Rep. Vic Snyder has proposed legislation to name the post office at 1700 Main Street after Scipio A. Jones, the groundbreaking black lawyer. News release on jump.

VIC SNYDER NEWS RELEASE

Washington, DC – U.S. Representative Vic Snyder filed legislation today that would designate the U.S. Post Office at 1700 Main Street in Little Rock as the Scipio A. Jones Post Office Building.  Jones garnered national attention in the aftermath of the Elaine Massacre with the successful defense of 12 sharecroppers who had been condemned to death. His efforts ultimately resulted in the U.S. Supreme Court finding that mob-dominated trials were a violation of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

 

Scipio A. Jones was born a slave in Dallas County, Arkansas in 1863. He was educated at Philander Smith College and Bethel University (now Shorter College), and admitted to the Arkansas Bar in 1889. Jones was a widely respected citizen in central Arkansas, and on a visit to Little Rock by Treasury Secretary W.G. McAdoo during World War I, Jones personally presented him a check to purchase $50,000 worth of Liberty Bonds to support the Allied cause, and soon thereafter raised another $50,000 for the effort. Jones was later appointed to the Liberty Bond national advisory board by President Woodrow Wilson. Jones also served as the National Attorney General for the Mosaic Templars of America.

 

In the aftermath of the Elaine Massacre of 1919, Jones’s legal defense efforts ultimately resulted in the case of Moore v. Dempsey being argued before the United States Supreme Court, which found that mob-dominated trials were a violation of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The Elaine Massacre is considered the deadliest racial confrontation in Arkansas history and resulted in the deaths of five Caucasians and an undetermined number of African Americans--estimated in the hundreds.  Jones garnered national attention with the successful defense of 12 sharecroppers who had been condemned to death, and by securing the release of nearly 100 other Elaine defendants who had been sent to prison.

 

Arkansas House Members Berry, Boozman and Ross will serve as original cosponsors of the bill, as will Parkdale, Arkansas native Rep. Danny K. Davis (D-IL).  Scipio A. Jones died on March 28, 1943, and is buried at Haven of Rest Cemetery in Little Rock.

 


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