Biographical Database of Black Women Suffragists

Biography of Anna V. Jones, 1867-1942

By Amanda Notarantonio, Katherine Riordan, and Emma Hayes, Undergraduates, University of Rhode Island

Anna Victoria Jones was born April 15, 1867, in Truro, Nova Scotia. Her father, Samuel Jones, was born in North Carolina in 1820. He most likely escaped slavery and eventually settled in Truro, Nova Scotia, Canada, where a significant Black population developed after the American Revolution as a place of refuge for Black Loyalists. It also became an important destination for runaway slaves after the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. Samuel Jones married Anna's Canadian-born mother, Martha Reed (or Reid) in 1850. Martha Reed Jones died in 1870 when Anna was just 3 years old. Anna had nine older siblings who probably helped care for her. In 1879, her father then married Margaret Elms, who birthed several of Anna's half-siblings, including Hattie Mae Jones, born in 1883.

Twenty-three-year-old Anna Jones arrived in the port of Vanceboro, Maine, on December 24, 1890, as a Canadian citizen. Many Black Canadians left Nova Scotia to work in New England in the late 19th and early 20th century. Settling in Providence, Rhode Island, Jones first worked as a laundress and later as a housekeeper for white families. Jones never married and helped support her younger half-sister, Hattie Mae Jones, who joined her in Providence in 1906. Hattie and Anna rented a house at 10 Wheaton Street, right near the historic Congdon Street Baptist Church and just a few houses down from famed opera singer Sissieretta "Black Patti" Jones.

In 1916, Anna V. Jones signed a resolution of R.I. Union Colored Women's Clubs in support of the Federal Woman Suffrage Amendment at the Congdon Street Baptist Church following the Club's 13th annual conference. Although she was not yet a U.S. citizen, Jones was passionate about women's social and political issues. Jones may also have been involved with the Ladies Club of Woonsocket, Rhode Island.

Participation in her Baptist faith was a central part of Anna V. Jones's life. Like many Black families in Providence, she lived close to the Congdon Street Baptist Church. In February 1918, Jones performed in the Congdon Street Baptist Church choir as part of an event supporting the Church's Missionary Circle. She was joined by Mrs. William Younger, Mrs. Emma Rochester, and Mrs. Sarah Nelson. She also sang at an event for the Messiah Church School Choir in 1926.

On March 27, 1925, Jones declared her intention to become a United States citizen. Her brother-in-law Richard Milton Dudley and younger sister Hattie Jones Dudley witnessed the 1927 naturalization ceremony. She lived with the couple and their five children at 84 Bates Street in Providence for many decades. Anna V. Jones died in Rhode Island (possibly at Howard State Hospital) on June 22, 1942 at the age of 74. Her younger sister Hattie Mae Jones Dudley died on February 3, 1980 in Providence at the age of 97.


(1918, March 9). New York Age, p. 2. Available from Readex: America's Historical Newspapers:

(1929, September 1). Providence Journal, p. 32. Available from NewsBank: Access World News – Historical and Current:

(1929, April 13). Providence Journal, p. 2. Available from NewsBank: Access World News – Historical and Current:

(1926, December 17). Providence Journal, p. 22. Available from NewsBank: Access World News – Historical and Current:

National Archives at Boston; Waltham, Massachusetts; ARC Title: Petitions and Records of Naturalization, 2/1842 - ca. 1991; NAI Number: 3432872; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009; Record Group Number: RG 21

Year: 1900; Census Place: Providence Ward 2, Providence, Rhode Island; Page: 5, ;Enumeration District: 0013; FHL microfilm: 1241506

Year: 1910; Census Place: Providence Ward 1, Providence, Rhode Island; Roll: T624_1441; Page: 15A; Enumeration District: 0146; FHL microfilm: 1375454

Year: 1920; Census Place: Providence Ward 1, Providence, Rhode Island; Roll: T625_1676; Page: 8B; Enumeration District: 159

Year: 1940; Census Place: Providence, Providence, Rhode Island; Roll: m-t0627-03774; Page: 12A; Enumeration District: 6-43

Lee, Maureen D. Sissietetta Jones: The Greatest Singer of Her Race, 1868-1933. University of South Carolina Press, 2012.

Hepburn, Sharon A. Roger. "Following the North Star: Canada as a Haven for Nineteenth-Century American Blacks." Michigan Historical Review, Vol. 25, No. 2 (Fall, 1999), pp. 91-126 (36 pages)

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