The birth of John Jones, successful businessman and abolitionist.
John Jones was born free in Green City, North Carolina. He was self-educated and became a tailor's apprentice in Memphis, Tennessee, before moving to Chicago in 1845. Jones opened a tailoring business there, from which he amassed a fortune. Using his wealth and influence, Jones led the successful fight against the prohibition of the immigration of free Blacks into Illinois in 1853, the "Black Laws," and school segregation in Chicago. He was elected a Cook County, Illinois, commissioner in 1875 and served for two terms. Jones was also the first Black American elected to the Chicago board of education. Prior to the civil war, he was also active in the abolitionist movement, his home being used as a station on the underground railroad. Jones died in 1879, leaving an estate valued at more than $100,000.