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Clara Stanton Jones and her career as a top librarian was born early on when she was a young girl in her native St. Louis. Inspired by a love of reading and education, Jones was inspired by her family and a legendary civil rights pioneer on her way to become the first Black person to become director of a major city public library.

Jones was born May 14, 1913. Her family was close, led by her father and insurance man Ralph Stanton and her mother Etta Stanton, a schoolteacher. Like her mother, Jones wanted to teach school. Although she was reared in the racist environment of the Jim Crow South, Jones refused to let those barriers destroy her dreams.

After listening to her brothers talk about college life, Jones entered the Milwaukee State Teacher’s College in 1930. She was one of just six Black students in the entire school. She eventually transferred to Spelman College in Atlanta, majoring in English and History, where she determined she wanted to be a librarian. Jones got a job at then-Atlanta University as a typist and remained there until she graduated in 1934.

Little Known Black History Fact: Clara Stanton Jones  was originally published on

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