Remembering Venus R. Jones

The following is an excerpt by Simpson Library Cataloging and Processing Assistant Sarah Appleby ’06. She wrote the original for The Spinning Wheel, the blog of UMW Special Collections and University Archives, to commemorate Black History Month. In 1968, Venus R. Jones became Mary Washington’s first African-American graduate. This year, on the 50th anniversary of her commencement, we have the opportunity to recognize an ambitious student who helped break down barriers at the University of Mary Washington. Venus Jones did not originally set her sights on attending Mary Washington College. Growing up in Petersburg, Virginia, she planned from an early age to attend the University of Virginia and become a doctor. However, when the time came for her to apply, U.Va. informed her that it would not accept a woman into its pre-med program. Instead, administrators directed her toward Mary Washington, which at the time was consolidated with U.Va as its liberal arts school for women. … [Read more...]