No one was more openly devoted to the will of the Lord than Ma Jones.By A.J. Verdelle
The Washington, D.C., my sisters and I grew up in was known as Chocolate City for good reason. As Black children in the city then, we were a majority. We sauntered from school to store to home to kickball field, oblivious to our segregation. When I was a tween, and just beginning to be conscious about the giving of gifts, my sisters and I were Christmas shopping at one of the festive pop-up markets in our corner of the city. We found a stellar gift for one of our grandmothers, which we knew for sure she would love. We knew for sure because of her religiosity.
No one was more openly devoted to the will of the Lord than Ma Jones, our father’s mother. Mabel Irene Young Jones was her name. She traveled very few miles in her lifetime, and yet she traveled a long way during her 65 years in Northwest Washington, D.C., where she was born, Black and poor, in 1912. When she died, in 1977, she was proud to have obtained with her mother and daughter a rowhouse, which they’d purchased collectively and occupied as multiple