From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Jones, Margaret Ellen Barnes

(born: 1911  -  died: 2000) 

A major in the U.S. Army, Margaret E. B. Jones was with the only African American military women's unit (the 6888th Postal Unit) to go overseas during World War II. Her first post as an officer was in Kentucky, where she was over a unit of African American women assigned to clean floors and latrines in the Camp Breckinridge hospital. After that, she began lobbying for better work assignments for the women she commanded. She and Myrtle Anderson were the first African American women Army officers stationed in Kentucky.

Jones' maternal grandparents had been enslaved in Kentucky. Her mother, a well-known community leader, was born in Monticello, KY; her name was Margaret E. Sallee Barnes.

Margaret E. B. Jones, born in Oberlin, OH, was a graduate of Howard University. Her brother-in-law, Sam Jones, was athletic director at the school; he was also one of the first African American officers commissioned in the Navy.

For more see C. Levy, "Maj. Margaret E. B. Jones Dies," Washington Post, 4/25/2000, Metro section, p. B7; The New York Times, 4/27/2000, late ed. Final, p. B13; To Serve My Country, To Serve My Race, by B. L. Moore; and "6 WACs Resign: WAC Clerks Decline to Scrub Floors," Philadelphia Afro-American, July 10, 1943, p.  1.

For more about Camp Breckinridge, see the Camp Breckinridge entry in the Kentucky Encyclopedia; and History of Camp Breckinridge, Kentucky, by P. Heady. See also the entry about the WACs Protest at Camp Breckinridge, KY.

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“Jones, Margaret Ellen Barnes,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed April 19, 2024,

Last modified: 2023-05-15 15:58:16