Donated by the subject's daughter, Mrs. L. Jones Lee.
Portrait of John Jones, 1817?-1879, three quarter length seated in a Victorian gentleman's arm chair, facing left. He is in a black suit, white shirt and black bow tie with a Masonic emblem stickpin. In his right hand he holds a cane with an ivory handle.
John Jones served as the leader of Chicago's African American community tailor around the time of the Civil War. A free black from the South, Jones and his wife, Mary Richardson Jones, moved to Chicago in 1845. Jones, a tailor by trade, became one of the nation’s wealthiest African-Americans and a nationally known abolitionist. His greatest achievement came in 1865 with the repeal of the Illinois Black Laws, which he had lobbied against for years. Jones later won election to the Cook County Board of Commissioners, the first African American to hold elective office in Illinois.