Leslie A. Jones
Civil Rights
African American History

She was born to Leslie and Mabel Beatrice Johnson Alexander at 1208 Louisiana Avenue, her grandmother's house in Monroe, Louisiana. Leslie was one of three children. Her father worked as a "boot black" at a barbershop. Her worked as a housewife, and later was employed at a white-owned beauty shop where she shampooed and rolled hair. She recalls most of her childhood fun as "school- and church-related." The family attended Tabernacle Baptist Church. Without a car, they walked to church. Leslie recalls race relations of that era. She preferred not to shop in stores where she was often ignored. Instead of going into "colored" bathrooms or drinking from separate fountains, she often waited until she got home. An excellent student, Leslie earned a scholarship and entered Grambling State University at age 15. There she struggled financially, living on pay from campus jobs and the few dollars her parents could afford to send her. She acted in plays and traveled with a college drama to small towns in Louisiana. She also was crowned Miss Grambling. Soon after graduating at age 19 in 1952 Leslie went to Bastrop for student teaching, and got her first job there teaching fifth grade. On August 31, 1952 she married Ernest Edward Jones, the president of her class all four years at Grambling. They would have four children and nine grandchildren. While she taught school he pastored a church. In 1959 they moved to Shreveport where he became pastor at Galilee Baptist Church, just as the civil rights movement was gathering momentum. Twice bullets were shot into their house. Their children were among the first to integrate Shreveport schools. Concerning that period, Leslie says, "it was wonderful to be blessed to be at that position, and to have those things happen, and to have been a part of history." Meanwhile Reverend Jones won a position on police jury while Leslie was elected to the school board in 1978. She served through 1984. The couple traveled extensively to meetings of Baptist World Alliance when he was president of the National Baptist Convention.