By Yolanda Spivey
Alberta O. Jones was the first female prosecutor in Jefferson County, Kentucky and she was also Muhammad Ali’s first attorney.
Born in 1930, Jones was one of the first African American women to pass the Kentucky State bar. In 1965, after opening her own successful practice, she was appointed to be a prosecutor in Louisville Domestic Relations Court. But unfortunately she was murdered that year.
In the early hours of August 5, 1965, someone threw her body off of the Sherman Minton Bridge in Louisville Kentucky. Her murder was at first considered an accidental drowning, but an autopsy revealed that she had received several blows to her head. She was only 35 years old.
Jones’s murder still remains unsolved to this day, but the contributions she made as a young African American woman remain forever. She was instrumental in getting African Americans involved with the voting process. She often rented voting machines and held classes teaching African Americans how to vote and how to choose a candidate. In addition, she established the Independent Voters Association and was an active member of the Urban League and NAACP.
While serving as Muhammad Ali’s attorney, she was responsible for aiding in drawing up his first contracts. She took the young Ali, who went by the name of Cassius Clay at the time, to California to be trained under Archie Moore.
Although her life was cut short, Jones had a full existence in black history in Kentucky, and was very active in the civil rights movement. She was often seen front and center participating in marches in Louisville Kentucky, and she even participated in the March on Washington.
Alberta graduated from the University of Louisville with her undergraduate degree and transferred to Howard University School of Law where she obtained her graduated degree. She was fourth in her class. To this day, a picture of her hangs on the walls of the University of Louisville Law School.