Oral Histories

Hear about the life of Venus Jones from her family members, friends, and high school classmates.

What was it like to grow up in Petersburg, VA?

“In fact, there were still in Petersburg, at that time, water fountains that were still labeled for colored only or for whites only. It was that type of atmosphere that I grew up in.” – Chip Cartwright

What were some of Venus Jones’s aspirations as a high school student?

“At one point she said she wanted to be a pediatrician, so she was thinking, you know, helping people, being a health provider, that kind of thing at an early age.” – Carmencita Stewart

What did Venus Jones do for fun in high school?

“We kind of double dated. Went to the prom together, we dressed up and went to Sadie Hawkins Day dance. We participated, you know, they would have college nights, where different college professors would come and talk to us about attending their colleges and applying. We kind of hung together.” – Lillie Williams

What was Venus Jones like at home?

“I just remember her—she didn’t talk that much about her accomplishments. You find out—like, I’m finding out twenty, thirty, forty years later, these things. When she came home, she became that child again and all of us were into our routines, you know? So it was never about work, it was about family and whatever was going on amongst family.” – Albert Jones III

Click through to the next page for the full audio interviews and written translations.