Ms. Margie M. Jones enlisted in Arkansas Army National Guard in 1973 as a Private First Class (PFC). She spent 14 years of service in the 148 Evac Hospitals Unit. Because of her License Practical Nurse (LPN) skills from Little Rock Vocational Tech she was recruited by COL Homer Albritton from the Little Rock Veterans Medical Center Hospital to enlist in the program called Stripes for Skills. PFC Jones was one of the first Black Enlisted Nurses in the unit as a 91C. She obtained the rank of SP6 and was instructing 91B Medical Courses at different Medical National Guard Units throughout Arkansas. SP6 Jones was honorably discharged from the Arkansas Nation Guard due to medical reasons that she never received compensation. Her Military Awards consist of Good Conduct and Reenlistment.
Ms. Jones retired from Little Rock Veteran Medical Center in 1994 after 28 years of taking care of Veterans. Immediately she began working at Baptist Hospital in West Little Rock for 16 years including Home Health.
Ms. Jones recalled during her interim rotation at a hospital in Little Rock, Arkansas she experience firsthand discrimination of the treatment of black patients in the hospital. All black patients with all kinds of medical condition, even isolation patients were treated in one area called the “Black Ward” in the basement of the hospital, with no running water in the ward. The students would have to go outside the ward to get running water to bathe their patients and to fill their water pitchers. At the same time, when it was time to feed the patients the kitchen staff would bring the cart trays to the basement floor entrance to the ward on one side of the hallway. The student nursing would go to the hallway to get the trays at the same time the janitors would be taking trash from the hospital down the opposite side of the hallway to the dumpsters.
When it was time for the black student nurses to rotate to the OB/GYN training the student weren’t allowed to go in the patient delivery room while the black babies were being delivered. Their training consists of looking through the glass window while the babies were being delivered. At one particular time the black Dr. had two mothers in the delivering room with no nurses in the room to assist him because, the white nurses were across hall helping the delivery of a white breach baby of which the black student nurses wasn’t allowed to observe. As the black doctor was delivering one of the babies with no help, the students begin to makes noise because they wanted to assist him in the delivery. The students didn’t know if the white nurse heard the commotion and they decide to come to assist the black doctor.
Margie has been a devoted volunteer with the Pulaski County Election Office since 1985 and she still continues to devote her times with the elections. She has performed many other volunteer hours with Arkansas Neighborhood Associations, America Heart Association and American Cancer Society. Ms. Jones also volunteered with ACORN of Arkansas and with America Association of Retired Person (AARP) where she’ll still actively involve.
One of Margie fondest memories is when she joined the International Benevolent Protective Order of Elks of the World (IBPOEW) in 1982. Through the (IBPOEW), she was a contestant in the Annual National Nurse of the Year competition held in Washington, DC. Margie won First Runner Up and it was very exciting for her to be able to ride in the parade on Pennsylvania Ave. The following year Ms. Margie Jones was Crown 1983 Nurse of Year in Little Rock, AR. She received numinous award as member with the (IBPOEW) Ms. Jones was a proud member of the America Legion on Ninth Street and her group marched in many parades she was promoted to Captain.
While attending Horace Mann High School 1960 she wanted to join the Red Cross Candy Stripers but they didn’t allow black girls in the Candy Striper uniform but they made the black girls wear Yellow Striper at the UAMS.