Jacqueline Jones

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Jacqueline Jones at the 2009 Texas Book Festival.

Jacqueline Jones (born 1948) is an American historian. She holds the Walter Prescott Webb Chair in History and Ideas and is Mastin Gentry White Professor of Southern History at the University of Texas at Austin. She is an expert in American social history in addition to writing on economics (including feminist economics), race, and class.


Born in Delaware, Jones was daughter of the head of the Delaware state school board and attended an elementary school now named after her father. She has a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, which she obtained in 1976 after spending time at the University of Delaware. She previously held academic positions at Wellesley College, Brown University and Brandeis University. In July 1999 Jones was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship. Although the award typically allows academics to take time off from their teaching, she decided to wait before beginning her research and worked through the period of the fellowship, saying, "I think I will take time off in a few years, but I really like being here on campus, being around my colleagues, teaching." Jones has also been awarded a Ford Fellowship, a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship, and an American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship, and was twice a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in history.

Ideas and awards[edit]

In 1986, Jones's second book Labor of Love, Labor of Sorrow: Black Women, Work, and the Family from Slavery to the Present won her the Bancroft Prize. In Labor of Love, Labor of Sorrow, Jones demonstrates her extensive knowledge of the history of the South from 1830 to 1915. The book begins as a study of African Americans and the hardships they faced during the nineteenth century, but then develops to include commentary on the impact of class and gender on women in the South. The book goes on to debunk ideas about 'race' and also to blend analysis of the hardships faced by women and blacks into a single integrated picture centering on the figure of the black working-class woman. The book's combination of historical and feminist scholarship is characteristic of Jones's career. Upon winning a MacArthur fellowship Jones noted that finishing her Bancroft-winning volume inspired her to write her third book, The Dispossessed, America's Underclasses from the Civil War to the Present, which examines poverty in America across the boundaries of race and gender. That book would go on to win her a Choice Award for Outstanding Academic Title in 1992 as well as finalist standing for the Lillian Smith Award for non-fiction. In 2001, Jones published Creek Walking, a memoir of her childhood in Delaware during the 1950s. Although her expertise is primarily in African American history, Jones's books range widely in their coverage, from the effect of economic policies on workers' lives to American educational history. Her understanding of women's history has gained her recognition outside her own field among feminist circles, and she continues to reach non-academic audiences with the expansion of her areas of research. American Work: Four Centuries of Black and White Labor was a History Book Club Selection and in 2002 she was named a fellow in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Jones has reflected in an interview that her work involves "writing about issues of race and class and how the United States has changed over the years, how different groups have viewed each other and interacted, how certain groups have been assigned certain kinds of work." Her history writing increasingly features case studies focusing on the overlooked but nonetheless exemplary lives of individuals. Her most recent book, A Dreadful Deceit: The Myth of Race From the Colonial Era to Obama’s America, was published in 2013.


  • Jones, Jacqueline. A Dreadful Deceit: The Myth of Race From the Colonial Era to Obama’s America, Basic Books, 2013.
  • Jones, Jacqueline. Saving Savannah: The City and the Civil War, Alfred A. Knopf, 2008.
  • Jones, Jacqueline. Creek Walking: Growing Up in Delaware in the 1950s. University of Delaware Press, 2001.
  • Jones, Jacqueline. A Social History of the Laboring Classes: From Colonial Times to the Present. Boston & London: Blackwell Publishers, 1999.
  • Jones, Jacqueline. American Work: Four Centuries of Black and White Labor. W.W. Norton, 1998.
  • Jones, Jacqueline. The Dispossessed: America's Underclasses, from the Civil War to the Present. Basic Books, 1992.
  • Jones, Jacqueline. Labor of Love, Labor of Sorrow: Black Women, Work, and the Family From Slavery to the Present. Basic Books, 1985.
  • Jones, Jacqueline. Soldiers of Light and Love: Northern Teachers and Georgia Blacks, 1865-1873. University of North Carolina Press, 1980.