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Dr. Edith Irby Jones

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Information about Dr. Edith Irby Jones

Profile image of Dr. Edith Irby Jones

Profession

Category:
MedicalMakers
Occupation(s):
Internal Medicine Physician

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Red and Black
Favorite Food:
None
Favorite Time of Year:
All Seasons
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Hot Springs, Arkansas
Favorite Quote:
I Love You.

Birthplace

Born:
12/23/1927
Birth Location:
Mayflower, Arkansas

Profession

Category:
MedicalMakers
Occupation(s):
Internal Medicine Physician

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Red and Black
Favorite Food:
None
Favorite Time of Year:
All Seasons
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Hot Springs, Arkansas
Favorite Quote:
I Love You.

Birthplace

Born:
12/23/1927
Birth Location:
Mayflower
See how Dr. Edith Irby Jones is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

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.

Jones passed away on July 15, 2019.

See how Dr. Edith Irby Jones is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • 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