DALTON SCHOOL GRAD PRAISES MOM in NEW BIOGRAPHY
An Extraordinary Life: Josephine E. Jones (Ida Bell Publishing; May 2017; $19.00) by Wendy Jones is an American story, a Great Migration story, a New York story and a black family’s story. But, most of all it is a mother-daughter story.
Josephine, a sharecropper’s daughter (and the first person in her family to graduate from high school) migrated from South Carolina to New York City in 1946 to work as a cook in the private homes of wealthy white families. She worked hard and saved what she could while also acting as a life line for various members of her family. In 1952, she went to a dance at Harlem’s famed Savoy Ballroom where she met Len Jones whom she married a few months later. Unfortunately, Len only worked sporadically and spent the rest of his time in bed reading detective stories. Frustrated, she separated from her husband a few months after the birth of their daughter, Wendy who was only thirteen when her father died from cancer of the esophagus.
Josephine wanted to do more with her life than work as a domestic in private homes. She first went to Standard Brands as a temp in August of 1953. The company (now Kraft Heinz) produced Chase & Sanborn Coffee, Royal Gelatin, and Planters Peanuts. She ended up working there for thirty one years.
In 1966 she graduated from the New York Institute of Dietetics and became manager of food services at Standard Brands which made her the first black woman in management at a Fortune 500 company. But that was not her only source of income. Josephine worked two other jobs in order to send Wendy to an elite private school. The Dalton School offered Wendy a full scholarship to the exclusive and highly coveted institution. Josephine responded that she would find a way to pay half of Wendy’s tuition so that she could have a say in her daughter’s education.
Josephine Jones even moved out of her six-story walkup in 1976 and purchased a Harlem brownstone. An Extraordinary Life reveals a hardworking, disciplined and loving mother who was fiercely determined to provide the best life possible for her only child.
ABOUT WENDY JONES
The only child of a single mother, Wendy Jones grew up in a rough patch of Harlem during the 1960s. Ms. Jones’ short story, Savannah, appeared in the anthology, Illuminating Tales of the Urban Black Experience (Penguin Books; 1996). She has also written an award-winning play, In Pursuit of Justice: A One-Woman Play about Ida B. Wells, starring Janice Jenkins, which made its debut in 1995 at the H.A.D.L.E.Y. Players in New York City. It won four AUDELCO awards. The play has been revived several times, including a one-hour version at Payan Theater in New York City and a full performance in New Rochelle. Ms. Jones is a graduate of The Dalton School, has a B.A. in Literature from Yale University, and an M.F.A. in Fiction from Columbia University. She is the fiction editor of theravensperch.com, an online literary magazine, and lives in New Jersey with her family.
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Six Authors! Oatmeal Cookies! Apple Cider! Pumpkin Cupcakes! Truly the ingredients for a fine Indie Authors' Day. Public libraries all over the world celebrated their independently published authors. Springfield Public Library was one of seven public libraries in New...read more
With the help of my life partner, who sold books as well as assisted with set up, take down, and transportation, I had a fine reading on this pleasant August night in Brooklyn. People began arriving about a half hour before the reading so they could enjoy a light meal...read more
An Extraordinary Life: Josephine E. Jones Book Launch Retrospective, May 24, 2017 Where is the Writer? Wednesday, May 24, 2017, 7PM, at the Springfield Library. Many of the guests had arrived. Denise DeVone and Kathey Piedl, my two friends who were acting...read more
Hello, Family and Friends On Friday, August 4, at 7PM, I will give a reading from An Extraordinary Life: Josephine E. Jones, sell books, and stamp them at the Commons Cafe at 388 Atlantic Ave. in Brooklyn.There is no cover charge, but event goers purchase meals from...read more
Hello, Family and Friends David Rothenberg will interview me about An Extraordinary Life: Josephine E. Jones on his program, Any Saturday, this Saturday, July 8, 8 AM – 10 AM on 99.5 FM, WBAI, listener-sponsored, community radio. You can listen online,...read more
Hello, Family and Friends NJ Public Library Memorial Donation Program A friend of Ida Bell Publishing, LLC, who wishes to remain anonymous, has been buying books from Ida Bell Publishing, LLC to donate them to local New Jersey public libraries. The books are donated...read more
Hello, Family and Friends Getting Ready for the Book Launch Although the Book Launch begins at 7PM, there will be music ( my mother's favorites) food, and time to talk before the brief introduction and reading--less than 15 minutes--begins at 7:30 PM. Q & A...read more
Hello, Family and Friends The book is on track for May 19th publication. People who contribute now will have to wait until the second printing for their names to appear on the List of Sponsors. I am envisioning a warm and interesting evening for May 24th. Fundraising...read more
Wonderful News! Apologies for the late post, but I have been working with the new printer. According to the current production schedule, An Extraordinary Life: Josephine E. Jones will be available Friday, May 19. If you donated more than $26.96, or more than $20. 33...read more
Book Launch for An Extraordinary Life: Josephine E. Jones What: Book Launch for An Extraordinary Life: Josephine E. Jones Brief reading, Q & A, book selling, hand stamping, and delicious refreshments Where: Springfield Free Public Library; 66 Mountain Ave. in...read more
Hello, Family and Friends In the last four weeks of the fundraiser, I hope to raise enough money for the second printing and the unexpected expenses. If you are considering donating, please do so now before your busy schedule consumes you. If you've already donated,...read more
Hello, Family and Friends I received good wishes on the project from a family member last night. He then told me the good news of progress on his artistic project. In turn, I wished him continued success. It seems as if the step-by-step progress on these imaginative...read more
Hello, Family and Friends It's late, so I will keep this brief to retain my coherence. This is week 6 of 12 because Ida Bell Publishing, LLC, is extending the fundraiser. Love continues to flow towards this project. As I wrote to a friend and recent sponsor, "Of...read more
Welcome seekers of unique and thought-provoking books. In this, my first post, I will answer some questions that have been asked by a sponsor of An Extraordinary Life: Josephine E Jones. I am sure you want to know the answers to these questions, too. 1) What books are...read more
American Wealth is Broken
Maura Cheeks| The Atlantic | July 2019
Maura Cheeks’s superbly written and researched article, plus hyperlinks, is well worth reading. The article details the stories of three African Americans, including my mother’s story. Throughout, Ms. Cheeks gives examples of specific racist government policies and the impact of enslavement on these individuals. But if you don’t have time right now to read the entire article, scroll down about 13 paragraphs to the roman numeral II and pictures of my mother in her brownstone. Her story follows.
AN EXTRAORDINARY LIFE: JOSEPHINE E. JONES
AVAILABLE AT THE FOLLOWING LIBRARIES
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture – NY
Princeton University’s Firestone Library – Princeton, NJ
Library of Congress – Washington, D.C.
East Orange Public Library – East Orange, NJ (Memorial Donation)
Hillside Public Library – Hillside, NJ (Memorial Donation)
Plainfield Public Library – Plainfield, NJ (Memorial Donation)
Roosevelt Public Library – Roosevelt, NY (Long Island)
Roselle Public Library – Roselle, NJ (Memorial Donation)
Springfield Free Public Library – Springfield, NJ
Union Public Library – Union, NJ (Memorial Donation)
Vauxhall Public Library – Vauxhall, NJ (Memorial Donation)
Westfield Memorial Library – Westfield, NJ
Wisconsin Historical Society – Madison, WI