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Dr. Edith Irby Jones

Pioneering medical physician Dr. Edith Irby Jones was born on December 23, 1927 to Mattie Buice Irby, a maid, and Robert Irby, a farmer. As a child, Jones witnessed her older sister die due to a typhoid epidemic and was encouraged to pursue a career as a medical physician. She attended Langston Elementary School and Langston Secondary School both in Hot Springs, Arkansas. In 1944, Jones’ high school teacher helped her obtain a scholarship to attend Knoxville College in Knoxville, Tennessee where she majored in chemistry, biology and physics. While at Knoxville College, Jones was an active member of the Alpha Kappa Mu Honor Society and was initiated into the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. In addition, Jones was a member of the debate team, pep squad, drama club and the YMCA.

In 1948, nine years before the “Little Rock Nine” integrated Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, Jones became the first African American admitted to the University of Arkansas College of Medicine. Although she was not provided with the same housing, dining or bathroom facilities as white students, Jones received support from her high school alumni, neighbors and a black-owned local newspaper, The Arkansas State-Press. Afterwards, she received an internship at the University Hospital in Little Rock. In Arkansas, Jones practiced medicine and worked with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the Civil Rights Movement before moving with her family to Texas in 1958. In 1959, Jones began her residency in internal medicine at Baylor College of Medicine Affiliated Hospitals, but the hospital that she was assigned to segregated her, limiting her patient rosters. She completed the last months of her residency at Freedman’s Hospital in Washington, D.C., and in 1963, she received an academic appointment as a clinical assistant professor of medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine.

On May 4, 1979, Jones’ achievements were recognized by the State of Arkansas, and she was honored with the founding of the annual celebration of Edith Irby Jones Day. That following year, she became a founding member of the Association of Black Cardiologists Incorporated. In 1985, Jones became the first woman to be elected president of the National Medical Association, and in 1986, she led the United States Task Force on Health to Haiti where the medical and healthcare infrastructure were examined and potential solutions for the impoverished nation were explored.

In 1997, the Edith Irby Jones M.D. Hospital was opened in Houston, Texas. Later, in 2001, Jones was named in Black Enterprise Magazine’s selection of 101 leading black physicians in America. She has received numerous awards and recognitions for her contributions to the medical field and the American Civil Rights Movement including: the Sinkler Miller Medical Association National Achievement Award, Kato Models Woman of the Year Award, Pioneer Award from the Student National Medical Association, Mickey Leland Certificate of Congressional Award, Bennett College Belle Ringer Image Award and the Oscar E. Edwards Memorial Award for Volunteers.

Jones was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 10, 2008.

Accession Number

A2008.041

Sex

Female

Interview Date

3/10/2008 |and| 5/10/2010

Last Name

Jones

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Irby

Schools

Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Langston High School

Knoxville College

University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

First Name

Edith

Birth City, State, Country

Mayflower

HM ID

JON20

Favorite Season

All Seasons

State

Arkansas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Hot Springs, Arkansas

Favorite Quote

I Love You.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Texas

Birth Date

12/23/1927

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Houston

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Short Description

Internal medicine physician Dr. Edith Irby Jones (1927 - ) integrated the University of Arkansas College of Medicine in 1950. In addition to practicing medicine, Jones served as president of the National Medical Association and on the faculty of the Baylor College of Medicine.

Employment

Baylor College of Medicine

Hermann Hospital

Favorite Color

Red and Black

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Dr. Edith Irby Jones' interview, session 1

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones talks about her relationship with her mother

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones describes her memories of her father

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones describes her father's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones describes her father's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones talks about her parents' marriage

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones remembers her father's employment

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones lists her siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones remembers her sister's death

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones describes her neighborhood in Conway, Arkansas

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones remembers contracting rheumatic fever

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones describes her early education

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones talks about the community of Hot Springs, Arkansas

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones reflects upon her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones remembers her favorite teachers

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones describes her early activities

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones remembers the Union Baptist Church in Hot Springs, Arkansas

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones recalls her decision to attend a private university

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones remembers her teenage social activities

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones describes the sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones describes the sights of her childhood

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones remembers Virginia Clinton Kelley

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones recalls her aspiration to become a doctor

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones remembers enrolling at Knoxville College in Knoxville, Tennessee

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones recalls her work experiences at Knoxville College

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones describes her academic experiences at Knoxville College

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones remembers joining the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones recalls her medical school applications

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones describes her decision to attend the University of Arkansas Medical School

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones recalls her first day at University of Arkansas Medical School in Little Rock, Arkansas

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones recalls her experiences as the first black student at the University of Arkansas Medical School, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones describes her transportation to the University of Arkansas Medical School

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones remembers her apartment in Little Rock, Arkansas

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones describes her private accommodations at University of Arkansas Medical School

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones recalls her experiences as the first black student at the University of Arkansas Medical School, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones remembers opening a private medical practice in Hot Springs, Arkansas

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones talks about her marriage

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones reflects upon her opportunity to attend medical school

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Slating of Dr. Edith Irby Jones' interview, session 2

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones recalls her decision to practice medicine in Hot Springs, Arkansas

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones describes her children

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones remembers moving to Houston, Texas

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones describes her residency at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones remembers her activism with the Freedom Four

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones recalls the support of Daisy Bates

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones reflects upon her decision to integrate an all-white medical school

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones remembers the support of H. Clay Chenault

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones recalls opening a medical practice in Houston, Texas

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones talks about her medical office in the Third Ward of Houston, Texas

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones remembers joining the staff of Hermann Hospital in Houston, Texas

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones talks about her patients

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones describes her teaching career, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones remembers the Civil Rights Movement in Houston, Texas

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones describes her teaching career, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones recalls the founding of the Association of Black Cardiologists

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones describes her early involvement in the National Medical Association

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones talks about her mentor, Dr. Michael E. DeBakey

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones recalls her agenda as president of the National Medical Association

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones talks about the hot springs of Hot Springs, Arkansas

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones describes her humanitarian work in Haiti, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones describes her humanitarian work in Haiti, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones describes her hopes for the Haitian people

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones talks about her advocacy work

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones shares a message to future generations

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones describes a hospital named in her honor in Houston, Texas

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones reflects upon her legacy