Mary Jane Richardson Jones

Mary Jane Richardson Jones (1819-1910) grew up in Tennessee, a free Black person. When she and her husband traveled to Chicago in 1844, they were detained under suspicion that they were runaway slaves. Eventually they did arrive in Chicago where Mr. Jones had a very successful tailoring business and the Jones family became one of the wealthiest Black families in the US.

Mrs. Jones became very active in the abolitionist movement, holding meetings in her home with fellow Chicagoans as well as with national figures such as Frederick Douglass and John Brown. She also opened her home to hundreds of runaway slaves who were attempting to escape to Canada. In addition, Mrs. Jones was a founding member of the Chicago’s Colored Ladies Freedmen’s Aid Society which provided aid to former slaves.

After the Civil War and the Great Chicago Fire (which destroyed the Jones home), Mrs. Jones focused her energy on the women’s suffrage movement. While she lived to see the end of slavery in the US, she died before the 19th Amendment was passed. Her gravestone inscription reads, “And her good works shall live forever.”

Why this stop? The Blue Line Washington stop is very close to the Dearborn Avenue home where Mary Jane Richardson Jones and her family lived.