LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – Alberta Jones was the first black woman to pass the Kentucky Bar Exam. She negotiated the first boxing contract for a young Muhammad Ali. She became Kentucky's first female prosecutor, a pioneer and a hometown hero.
At just 34, Jones championed voter registration drives and integrated city government by forcing the hiring of black employees.
She joins the ranks of Muhammad Ali, Pat Day and our own Milton Metz, receiving her banner Oct. 9 on the side of River City Bank at 6th and Muhammad Ali.
"I thought. Oh, $8,000 that's going to take us a year, but evidently, she was a little more well known and loved than we thought because we did it in four months,” Flora Shanklin, Jones’ younger sister, said.
The banner is a testament to Jones' life as a public servant.
"She has other accomplishments but this is the one I'm very proud of because the rest of them are inside buildings. People can pass down the street and see this one," Shanklin added.
But it also serves as a reminder that her murder case is still open.
In August 1965, Alberta Jones was beaten unconscious and thrown from the Sherman Minton Bridge where she died.
"Alberta Jones certainly deserves this banner and she deserves justice as well,” Mayor Greg Fischer said.
River City Bank, the home of Jones' banner, is a fitting location. It sits on the corner of 6th and Muhammad Ali. Jones was the Champ's first attorney and legal counsel. As we all know, the Louisville Lip lived his life through his six core principles—confidence, conviction, dedication, giving, respect and spirituality.
Jones embodied them all. "She was kind, she was generous, she loved her family, she loved her church,” Shanklin said.
For a woman who represented justice every day of her life, the focus remains on bringing that justice full circle.
"She fought for others. Now, I need someone to stand up and fight for her," Shanklin said.
The murder of Alberta Jones is still an open investigation and you're encouraged to call police with any information you may have.