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FBI and Marcus Garvey
Jones was appointed as the first African-American special agent on November 19, 1919 by Bureau of Investigation director A. Bruce Bielaski. Jones was assigned to a new section of the Justice Department created to track the activities of groups perceived as subversive. His work there was under the direct supervision of J. Edgar Hoover.
During his time in the FBI, Jones served in New York and Pittsburgh. In New York he was assigned to infiltrate the Universal Negro Improvement Association under the leadership of Marcus Garvey. Although he was seeking evidence of subversive activities during the "Red Scare" of 1919, Jones' work led to the arrest and trial of Garvey on mail fraud charges.
While conducting his surveillance, Jones adopted the code number 800 for his reports, and was also known as agent "800". He apparently knew that his clandestine role was not well concealed. During a March 1920 speech at the UNIA Liberty Hall he took special pains to point out to the audience that he was indeed of African ancestry, although he had the appearance of a person of Caucasian or European ancestry. Nevertheless, he engendered the trust of the UNIA leadership to such an extent that he was able to gain responsibility for registering all incoming correspondence. His access to UNIA correspondence along with his position as Adjutant General in the African Legion where essential in enabling his information gathering activities.
In August 1921 Jones began conducting similar surveillance on the African Blood Brotherhood. Eventually being recognized as a former DC police officer, Jones was no longer an asset as a clandestine agent and he resigned from the Bureau on April 14, 1923.
Jones died December 11, 1958 in Dormont, Pennsylvania.
released November 24, 2012
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