[act-ma] Mimi Jones died

Charlie Welch cwelch at tecschange.org
Mon Jul 27 07:36:39 PDT 2020

Mimi was a lifelong fighter for civil rights and worked for TecsChange 
for several years when we had an office on Fort Hill


  Attacked at a 1964 civil rights protest, Mimi Jones, who died at 73,
  was the subject of an iconic photo

ByBryan Marquard 
Staff,Updated July 26, 2020, 6:34 p.m.


In 1964, Mimi Jones was a 17-year-old civil rights activist when she 
joined other activists who traveled by bus from her home in Albany, Ga., 
to a protest at a St. Augustine, Fla., motel that denied service to Blacks.

Their destination was the Monson Motor Lodge, where “Black folks were 
denied a reservation there, they were denied the opportunity to have 
breakfast at the motel, and of course you were denied the opportunity to 
swim in the pool,” she told WGBH-TV in 2017 

Jones — she was Mamie Nell Ford then — donned a bathing suit and joined 
other protesters in a pool swim-in, only to be attacked when the hotel 
manager poured acid into the water next to her on June 18, 1964.

“All of a sudden, the water in front of my face started to bubble up 
like a volcanic eruption,” she told WGBH. “I could barely breathe. It 
was entering my nose and my eyes.

Jones, who later moved to Boston and had lived in Roxbury, died Sunday 
in her home. She was 73.

A photo of her reacting to the acid being poured into the pool became a 
defining image of the civil rights era. And condemnation of the attack 
in the nation’s capital helped push forward federal civil rights 

“Less than 24 hours later, the civil rights bill, introduced a year 
before that had been stalled in the US Senate, would win approval, 
leading directly to the passage of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 
1964,” wrote documentary filmmaker Clennon L. King 
<https://augustinemonica.com/who-we-are> in a piece 
that is posted on the NBC News website.

He directed the film “Passage at St. Augustine: The 1964 Black Lives 
Matter Movement That Transformed America,” which won the Hampton Award 
of Excellence at the 2015 Roxbury International Film Festival.Jones said 
in an interview with King that she and other activists in Albany had 
been recruited by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference to travel 
to St. Augustine,

“When they asked for volunteers to participate in the swim-in 
demonstration, I said, yes, because, despite segregation, I knew how to 
swim,” she said in the interview for the NBC News piece.

She was shocked by the attack by the motel manager.

“The water bubbled up like a volcano right in front of my face,” she 
told the Globe in 2017 
“I didn’t know what was going to happen.”

Police were at the edge of the pool “and carted us off to jail,” she 
told WGBH.

A service will be announced for Jones, who leaves her husband, John of 
Roxbury; her son, Gervase of Roxbury; and three sisters, Willa May 
Woodson of Detroit, and Geneva Jones and Altomease Ford Latting, both of 
Birmingham, Ala.

In the WGBH interview three years ago, Jones said that it often seems as 
if the civil rights movement has yet to fulfill its aspirations.

“I think we’re going backwards — I do — and in many instances, I think 
it’s worse,” she said in 2017.

As for that historic moment in 1964, “my commitment to social justice 
and being an activist, before I went to St. Augustine, had already been 
molded and crafted and shaped. St. Augustine was just another one of the 
stations on the journey.”

/A complete obituary will follow./

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