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We Still Believe

James “Jim” Jones Remembered as a visionary leader in North Carolina Family Medicine

We send our deepest condolences to the family of Dr. James “Jim” Jones. Dr. Jones passed away this week. He was a beloved legend and a citizen of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina. He will be remembered for his infectious sense of humor, his beautiful smile, his spirit to assist his fellow man, but also his willingness to stand up for justice.


Dr. Jones took a stand against hate on January 18, 1958 by joining Lumbee fighters against the Ku Klux Klan at the historic Battle of Hayes Pond. He was the first American Indian to graduate from Wake Forest University and the first American Indian to graduate from Bowman Gray School of Medicine. Dr. Jones was also the first American Indian to become chairman of a clinical department in a medical school in the US. He served in multiple board leadership roles at UNCP, including a five-year stint on the Board of Trustees from 2013 to 2018. He was instrumental in establishing a relationship between UNCP and Brody, setting aside guaranteed seats for UNCP and other minority graduates. He recently gave the keynote address at the 2019 commencement and listed an Honorary Doctor of Science degree from UNCP among his career highlights.


This January, in celebration of the 65th anniversary of the Battle of Hayes Pond, Lumbee Tribal Chairman John Lowery had the opportunity to conduct a public zoom call with Dr. Jim Jones and Mr. Jack Lowery as they both recalled the night they helped remove the Ku Klux Klan out of Robeson County during the battle that would be heard around the world. Chairman Lowery said even as a graduate student working on his medical degree, Dr. Jones drove home to help protect his homeland and his people and that is the spirit he took with him throughout the rest of his life. “Dr. Jones was a leader, pioneer, visionary, and a builder of many different institutions and organizations to help with the health care of people all across our state,” said Lowery. "This is truly a sad day for the Lumbee people, health community, education community, and so many others who Dr. Jones touched during his remarkable life.”


If you were unable to hear Dr.. Jones tell his story about the historic Battle of Hayes Pond, you may watch it by visiting https://youtu.be/NPzg8X3M9cc




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