Title: Oral History Interview with Julia Virginia Jones, October 6, 1997. Interview J-0072.
Interviewer: Friedman, Nancy Sara
Interviewee: Jones, Julia Virginia
Subjects: Judges--North Carolina--History--20th century Lawyers--North Carolina--History--20th century North Carolina--Race relations--20th century Women judges--North Carolina Women lawyers--North Carolina Judges--North Carolina Family--North Carolina--Social life and customs Cancer--Patients--Biography Jones, Julia Virginia
Abstract: Julia Virginia Jones was born in rural Shelby County, North Carolina, in 1948. The civic and professional activism of her mother and grandmother weighed heavily on Jones's definition of femininity, and she points to her father's abrupt death as forming a defining moment in her perception of gender roles. Rather than assuming married life would offer her lifelong security, Jones came to realize that she needed to be able to support herself independently. Religion played a significant role in her family, as did Democratic politics. The religious lessons Jones learned included tolerance and the omnipresence of God. Given the changing racial climate of the 1960s rural South, Jones admits her disenchantment with her church. Jones purposefully chose an all-women's college, Queens College, to develop her academic and leadership skills. She married her husband immediately after her college graduation and decided to follow him along his career path. She worked as a teacher, which resulted in unhappiness, so she applied to law school, accepting a full scholarship at Wake Forest. After clerking two years for Judge Woodrow Wilson, she obtained an associate position with the Moore & Van Allen law firm. In 1990, she was elected district court judge. She was undergoing cancer treatment at the time of this interview: she affectionately labels her supportive friends and family as "Fighting Okra" because of okra's raw strength and tenacity, characteristics she sees in her supporters.