John Jones was born a free man in North Carolina in 1817. An apprentice tailor, he taught himself to read and write.
Jones started his own business and after a long struggle he became one of the richest black men in America. Jones used some of his wealth in the campaign against slavery.
Jones moved to Chicago and made his home into an Underground Railway Station. Jones wrote many influential anti-slavery pamphlets and led the fight against the Illinois Black Laws under which black people could not vote or testify in court.
As Cook County Commissioner, Jones was the first black man to be elected to senior office in America. While holding this post he helped secure the law that abolished local segregated schools. John Jones died in Chicago in 1879.
Slavery in the United States (£1.29)