Educator Ruth Braswell Jones was born in Rocky Mount, North Carolina on November 21, 1914, the seventh daughter, of William and Arkaanna (Sanders) Braswell. Her education includes a diploma with distinction from Brick Junior College, Brick, North Carolina, in 1933 and a B.S. degree in Education with distinction from Elizabeth City State Teachers College, Elizabeth City, North Carolina, in 1948. North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in Greensboro, North Carolina, awarded her the M.S. degree in Education in 1960.
Jones’ career as an elementary school teacher spanned forty-seven years, 1933 to 1980. She gave to the children she touched, support, encouragement and a challenge to reach their potential. Her professional accomplishments occurred over a period of time that embraced both the segregated and integrated life histories of the state professional education organizations in North Carolina. As a master teacher, her impact has been recognized by colleagues and associates at the local, district, and state levels. Among the awards received were: the Outstanding Service Award, given by the Rocky Mount Unit of the North Carolina Teachers Association-Association of Classroom Teachers, 1969; the prestigious Terry Sanford Award for Creativity in Teaching, presented by the North Carolina Association of Educators in 1972, and the Teaching Career and Service to Education Award, given by the Edgecomb County Unit of the North Carolina Association of Educators in 1980.
Paralleling the recognition bestowed upon Jones as an outstanding teacher was the acclaim she commanded in elective and appointive professional offices at state, regional and national levels.
These included: the first and only woman in North Carolina to have been elected president of two state education associations, the all-black North Carolina Teachers Association which existed prior to integration, and the North Carolina Association of Educators, the integrated association of educators that was organized after the separate black and white associations were dissolved; chairperson of the National Education Association’s Bylaws and Rules Committee; the first black woman from North Carolina to be elected to the National Education Association’s Board of Directors; the first black president of the Southeast Regional Association of Classroom Teachers, and member of the Political Action Steering Committee of the National Education Association.
The achievements that Jones garnered were not limited to professional involvement. She was widely recognized for her participation in the civic and religious activities in her community. These recognitions and their awards have included: Woman of the Year, Rocky Mount BPW League, Incorporated, 1969; Civic and Religious Worker and Exemplary Teacher, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, 1972, and Citizen of the Year, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, 1974.