Alberta O. Jones

Born: 1931

Died: August 5, 1965

When she was fourteen, Alberta Jones was summoned to Louisville's Domestic Relations Court as a witness; little did she know that she would become the first woman prosecutor in the Domestic Relations Court years later.

Alberta was born in Louisville to Sadie and Odell Jones. She graduated with honors from Central High School and then attended the University of Louisville majoring in accounting. While there, she participated in the Debating Team and the Louisville Wesley Club.

After graduating with her undergraduate degree, Jones worked for a couple years with a fire insurance firm to earn money to pursue her law degree. She attended the University of Louisville School of Law for a year and then transferred to Howard University in Washington, DC. During her time at Howard she volunteered to help draft legislation for congressmen. She got her law degree in June 1958 graduating fourth in her class.

When I got back home a lot of people said, "You've got two strikes against you. You're a woman and you're a Negro."

I've seen people get home runs when all they've got left is one strike.

In 1959 she sat for the Kentucky Bar exam. When she appeared for the test, a photographer was there as well as Vincent Goodlett, secretary of the State Board of Bar Examiners, who told her that as far as they knew she was the only Black woman ever to take the State bar examinations. She later stated,

"I was completely demoralized at first. If I had known how much was depending on me I would have studied harder — and I would have worn something different."

She passed the bar and opened her own firm in Louisville. One of her clients was a young boxer named Cassius Clay who had just returned from winning the gold medal for boxing at the Olympics. (Cassius later changed his name to Muhammad Ali.)

On March 1, 1965 she began working as an assistant prosecutor for Louisville's Domestic Relations Court becoming the first Black woman prosecutor in Kentucky.

She actively participated in her community. As the president of the Independent Voters Association, she helped organize voter registrations in Black neighborhoods. One door-to-door campaign focused on the Southwick and Cotter housing projects in the West End. The drive she led in fall 1963 resulted in 995 new registrations. Another effort involved petitioning the Board of Voter Registration to set up registration booths in each of the city's twelve wards.

Tragically, on August 5, 1965, the 34-year-old Alberta Jones was murdered. Witnesses told police that they'd seen men forcing her into a car on Magazine Street. Her body was found in the Ohio River. Her case remained unsolved for decades. In 2010, the Louisville Police announced that they believed they'd tracked down one of her killers, but did not have sufficient evidence to prosecute.


"64 Successful in Bar Exam." Courier - Journal, September 15, 1959, 2.
"Alberta Jones." 1940 United States Federal Census, Ancestry Library. Accessed April 1, 2021.
"Central High Here Graduates 112." Courier - Journal, January 21, 1949, 2, 1.
"Hard to Keep up with, That's Alberta Jones." Courier - Journal, March 4, 1965, 1, 26.
Boeck, Larry. "Clay Has Three Contract under Study but Is Still Undecided About 'Hook-Up'." Courier - Journal, October 9, 1960, 2, 11.
Deitz, Robert. "Can Negro Bloc Voting Play Major Role in Congress Race?" Courier - Journal, May 17, 1964, 4, 3.
Halladay, Jessie. "Evidence Insufficient for Conviction, Prosecutors Say." Courier - Journal, May 4, 2010, Metro, A, 1.
Porter, Marion. "Woman Passes Law Test." Courier - Journal, September 15, 1959, 2, 1.
Tunnell, James L. "Negro Voter Drive Set." Courier - Journal, March 22, 1965, 2, 1.