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A Founding Family Part 3: The Joneses

February 17, 2017

Prof. Jones and Rosa Kinkle, [sic] as she was affectionately called, were leaders in educational and social life. – The New York Age, July 09, 1932

“I have no ‘Up from Slavery’ story,” Eugene Kinckle Jones once said, “My father owned the house in which I was born. I had a good education in schools supported by the North…”

Perhaps Eugene and his brother Endom were born into relative prosperity but this was only possible through the hard work of their grandparents and parents. We have already learned about their grandparents (A Founding Family Part 1: The Senior Kinckles) who were also relatively well-off by the time their second daughter, Rosa Daniel Kinckle was born, here’s a closer look at Eugene’s parents.

Rosa Daniel Kinckle Jones

rosakPleasant, affable, kind, loving, she is loved by all who know her, and is an ideal woman, wife and mother. -G.W. Hayes

Rosa was born in 1858 in Lynchburg, VA. The elder Kinckles were a musical family, their home was known to be full of “books and pictures and musical instruments”.1 Although her sister Alice graduated from Howard University’s musical department, Rosa was known as the gifted musician, having a voice of “unusual compass”.2 At various times in her life she received musical training from a teacher in Washington D.C. and at the New England Conservatory of Music. She attended Howard from 1877 to 1880, graduating with honors, and becoming one of only around 130 African-American women to hold degrees at the time.3

Like her older sister Alice, Rosa spent her first few years of employment teaching as one of the first Black public school teachers in Lynchburg, VA. In 1882, she married Joseph Endom Jones, a young professor at Richmond Theological Institute. Both her and her sister were dressed in “white satin with tulle veils, abundant lace, flowers, etc”4 and left from their double wedding to a double honeymoon to Norwich, CT. Joseph and Rosa had two sons, the eldest Henry Endom Jones, who went by Endom, was born in 1883, followed closely by Eugene Kinckle Jones in 1885. Sometime in the 1880s, Rosa began to teach music at Hartshorn Memorial College, a school focused on the education of African American young women, with a campus next door to the Richmond Theological Institute. (The land is now occupied by the Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School) She was one of only two Black faculty members, the other being a Ms. Lalia Halfkenny, originally from Wolfville, Nova Scotia.5

captureadRosa seemed to be universally loved as a music teacher. At least one student even named her daughter after her.6 The music programs she set up at Hartshorn were reviewed in local and national papers as “indispensable” and never “surpassed in excellence.”7 Rosa taught at Hartshorn for over 35 years, retiring only in 1928.8 Outside of teaching at Hartshorn she also took in private students at home.

rosa

From the NUL’s Opportunity

Outside of music, Rosa was the President of Maggie Walker’s Woman’s Union Beneficial Department which was committed to “financial protection and opportunities for women and their families”.9 She traveled extensively, spending summers with her sons or friends, traveling to promote Hartshorn Memorial College and even, in later years, to Europe with her son Eugene. 10 Her home was also its own salon, hosting many Howard graduates over the years as well as VUU students. Guests proclaimed she knew “how to prepare feasts for gods”.11 After Joseph died and she retired from Hartshorn, she spent her last years in Flushing, NY in the house of her son Eugene where she died in 1932.

Joseph Endom Jones

Joseph Endom Jones was born a slave on October 15, 1852 near Lynchburg, VA. His mother, Sicily Jones, was adamant in providing an education for her son. First she had a fellow slave teach her son at night, but the man was soon sold. She then made a deal with an ill Confederate soldier. In exchange for care, he continued Joseph’s lessons.12 His mother’s foresight and perseverance allowed z012b1him to enter a private school in Lynchburg after Emancipation. From there he entered the Richmond Theological Institute, and along with his future brother-in-law, was sponsored to attend Colgate University in 1876.13

Jones formed a strong bond with Richmond Theological Institute president, Charles Corey and wrote him letters while he was away at Colgate. Once he graduated, Corey offered both him and Vassar positions at Richmond Theological Institute. Corey fought with the Board of the American Home Mission Society when they disagreed at his proposed salary for the men.14 The corresponding secretary wrote

There are scores of white men who would be glad to teach for a much less sum, and who have had many years of experience. Why should Storm, Gardner & Jones be paid a larger salary than our other white assistants? If it is because they are educated colored men, then certainly we are making unwise discrimination between the white and the blacks.

We don’t know if Corey got his asked for amount, but Jones started as the Professor of Language and Philosophy before becoming the Chair of Homiletics for over 45 years.15 He was interested in Black religious education outside of the school as well, helping found Chesterfield County Sunday School Union No. 1.

Jones was said to be a “scholar and speaker of unusual force”whose “genial manner and force of character” caused him to have a large circle of friends and to install more pastors than any other Black preacher in America at the time.16 Jones was the pastor of the Bethesda Baptist Church for almost 30 years, overseeing the building of a new church building in 1903.

renovation-2016-3

1903 Bethesda Baptist building seen in 2016 renovations..

Jones was the editor of numerous newspapers, including the short-lived Virginia Baptist that was printed on the Virginia Union University campus.17 He also served as the Corresponding Secretary for the Baptist Foreign Mission Convention. As we saw with his friend and brother-in-law, Vassar (A Founding Family Part 2: The Vassars), Jones was actively politically and actively criticized by some because of this. He was part of upper class, and therefore some thought, shouldn’t be trying to force his ideas on those less economically fortunate. Jones had become part of the
“black aristocracy.”18 He was involved with many organizations, mutual aid societies, and preached sermons on topics such as the importance of patronizing black businesses in order to “uplift the race.”19 The Richmond Planet notes that specific sermon “created a marked sensation.”20
Jones kept working until his death in 1923. He is buried in Richmond’s Evergreen Cemetery alongside Rosa, and their eldest son, Henry Endom.

Henry Endom Jones

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The Young Jones Sons

The oldest of Joseph and Rosa’s sons, Henry Endom Jones was born in 1883, just a year after their marriage. Little is known of  Endom, so little in fact that some biographies of his brother Eugene, say that Eugene grew up as an only child.21 Endom attended Virginia Union, graduating around 1902 and presenting at graduation a talk entitled “The Pan-American Exposition”.22 His name enters the written record just a few times during his life. Once was December 5,  1903 after a football game between VUU and Shaw University. H. Endom Jones was “found to be unconscious…from injuries received during the contest.”23 He was later found to have broken several ribs that pierced his lungs.24 He never fully recovered though he lived for nine more years.  He was accepted to the Pharmaceutical Department of the University of Pennsylvania but had to leave because of his health. He never married and passed away in his parents house in 1912 when he was thirty years old. The Union-Hartshorn Journal remarked that “rarely has the heart of the student body been touched as it was by his death.” He was working as a waiter on a train at the time of his death.25

Eugene Kinckle Jones

The accomplishments of Eugene Kinckle Jones are numerous. It is impossible to list them

jones_eugene_kinkle

Eugene Kinckle Jones

all in this blog post. Since Eugene is the most well known of his family, we will only give a quick overview now and return to him at a later date.

Eugene was born in 1885. Jones went to Wayland Seminary (a preparatory school at this point) and then he attended VUU where his father and uncle were working, graduating in 1905. After graduating, he applied to Cornell University. At first Cornell’s dean refused to accept him on a Master’s level, instead telling him he could enter as an undergraduate but Jones appealed. A special committee was put together to review Jones’s application and he was admitted as a sociology major and economics minor. Jones graduated in 1908, presenting a thesis titled “Progress of the Negro Americans Since Their Emancipation” but before he graduated he became one of seven “Founding Jewels” and the first initiate of the new Black fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha. Jones was the co-creator of the fraternity name; President of Alpha Chapter; and Founder of three more chapters at Howard University, the University of Toronto, and of course, Virginia Union.26

z015

Eugene Kinckle Jones (left) with W. E. B. Du Bois (second from right)

Jones married Blanche Ruby Watson in 1909 and had two children. After teaching for a few years, Jones joined the newly-organized National Urban League which focused on social welfare and economic advancement.In 1914 he became the Executive Secretary of the organization. He pushed the organization in the twenties and thirties to organize boycotts of companies who would not hire Black workers, pushed for vocational training, and urged President Roosevelt to include Black workers in New Deal programs. Roosevelt included Jones as part of his “Black Cabinet” and he took the position of “Negro Advisor”

vann

3 yr. old Vann Kinckle Jones

in the Department of Commerce. He worked as the treasurer and vice president of the

National Conference of Social Work and even started the journal Opportunity: Journal of Negro Life with Charles Spurgeon Johnson. The journal featured many prominent Black talent such as Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston. Issues of this journal can be viewed in at the L. Douglas Wilder Library as part of VUU’s Special Collections.

Eugene Kinckle Jones corresponded and met with many of the big names of the era: W. E. B. Du Bois, Charles S. Johnson, Rayford Logan, Marian Anderson, and Robert L. Vann (whom he named his son after).

Jones died in 1954. He was buried in Flushing, NY were he had lived since starting work with the NUL. If you would like to learn more about Eugene Kinckle Jones check out the biography Eugene Kinckle Jones: The National Urban League and Black Social Work, 1910-1940 by Frank Armfield, available at the L. Douglas Wilder Library.

Learn more about this early founding family of VUU in our two previous blog posts. A Founding Family Part 1: The Senior Kinckles and A Founding Family Part 2: The Vassars. Next Friday we will tackle the last Kinckle child, John Henry Kinckle Jr.

If you enjoyed this let us know at archives@vuu.edu or on twitter @VUULibrary. Let us know if there is some aspect of VUU history you’d be interested in learning more about.


Footnotes
1. “A Wedding at the African Church.” Southern Workman (Hampton, VA), September 1882, Vol. XI, No. 9 ed. Accessed February 3, 2017.
2. Scruggs, Lawson Andrew. Women of Distinction: Remarkable in Works and Invincible in Character. Raleigh, NC: L. A. Scruggs, 1893.
3. Harris, Jennifer. ““Ushered into the Kitchen”: Lalia Halfkenny, Instructor of English and Elocution at a 19th-Century African American Women’s College.” Acadiensis XLI, no. 2 (Summer 2012): 45-65.
4. “A Wedding at the African Church.” Southern Workman (Hampton, VA), September 1882, Vol. XI, No. 9 ed. Accessed February 3, 2017.
5. Harris, Jennifer. ““Ushered into the Kitchen”: Lalia Halfkenny, Instructor of English and Elocution at a 19th-Century African American Women’s College.” Acadiensis XLI, no. 2 (Summer 2012): 45-65.
6. McCray, Carrie Allen. Freedom’s Child: The Life of a Confederate General’s Black Daughter. Chapel Hill, NC: Algonquin Books, 1998.
7. “Closing Exercises of Hartshorn Memorial College.” The Richmond Planet, May 30, 1896, XII, No. 24 ed.
8. Preston News Service. “Rev. Dr. J.E. Jones of Virginia Passes Away – Closes 47 Years of Actual Servise.” The Dallas Express, November 04, 1922, XXX, No. 2 ed.
9.Garrett-Scott, Shennette Monique. Daughters of Ruth: Enterprising Black Women in Insurance in the New South, 1890s to 1930s . PhD diss., The University of Texas at Austin, 2011.
10. “Urban League Officials to Attend Europe Meets.” The New York Age, June 16, 1928, Vol. 41, No. 40.
11. “A Brilliant Reception and Pretty Ladies.” The Washington Bee (Washington, D. C.), September 22, 1894, XIII, No 15.
12. Armfield, Felix L. Eugene Kinckle Jones: the national urban league and black social work, 1910-1940. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2014.
13. Earnest, Joseph Brummell. The Religious Development of the Negro in Virginia. PhD diss., University of Virginia, 1914. Charlottesville, VA: Michie Company, 1914.
14. Letter from S. S. Cutting to Charles Corey, September 27, 1876. Virginia Union University Special Collections and Archives.
15.Beasley, Delilah L. “Activities Among the Negros.” Oakland Tribune (Oakland, CA), November 05, 1933, CXIX, No. 128, sec. T.
16. Preston News Service. “Rev. Dr. J.E. Jones of Virginia Passes Away – Closes 47 Years of Actual Servise.” The Dallas Express, November 04, 1922, XXX, No. 2 ed.
17.Earnest, Joseph Brummell. The Religious Development of the Negro in Virginia. PhD diss., University of Virginia, 1914. Charlottesville, VA: Michie Company, 1914.
18. Armfield, Felix L. Eugene Kinckle Jones: the national urban league and black social work, 1910-1940. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2014.
19. “Personals & Briefs.” The Richmond Planet, July 12, 1890, VII, No. 29.
20. Ibid./i>
21. Armfield, Felix L. Eugene Kinckle Jones: the national urban league and black social work, 1910-1940. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2014.
22. “”The Virginia Union University – Fine Commencement Exercises.” The Richmond Planet, June 01, 1901, XVII, No. 24.
23.“Colored Banks and Insurance Companies Thrive. – A Woman President. – Va., News Items.” The Colored American (Washington, D. C.), December 05, 1903, X, No. 22.
24 “”Richmond, VA.” The New York Age, July 18, 1912, XXV, 42.
25. United States. Bureau of the Census. Thirteenth census of the United States taken in the year 1910. Agriculture. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Govt. Print. Office, 1913.
26. Cornell University Division of Rare & Manuscript Collections. “The “Seven Jewels”: Students, Then Brothers – Eugene Kinckle Jones, 1885-1953.” Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity: A Centennial Celebration. 2006. Accessed February 17, 2017. http://rmc.library.cornell.edu/alpha/sevenjewels/sevenjewels_3.html.
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