WASHINGTON- U.S. Senators John Boozman (R-AR) and Tom Cotton (R-AR) introduced legislation permitting the United States Postal Service (USPS) to accept and display a portrait of notable Little Rock attorney Scipio A. Jones to hang in the Little Rock post office that bears his name.
“Scipio Jones was an influential civil rights leader whose career and activism helped pave a path to equality. Providing the ability for the Scipio A. Jones Station to display a piece of art featuring its namesake is a commonsense measure to honor his legacy. I hope all who view this piece will be reminded of the unflinching courage and trailblazing spirit Mr. Jones exemplified throughout his life,” Boozman said.
“Scipio Jones’ pioneering civil rights work is the reason that the post office in Little Rock bears his name—and his portrait should be displayed there for the same reason. Our bill will ensure that Wade Hampton’s painting of Jones will be displayed at the Scipio A. Jones post office in order to properly honor his legacy,” Cotton said.
Scipio Jones was born into slavery in 1863 in Dallas County. He became a lawyer and leader in the black community. Jones is well-known for his role in defending the 12 black men wrongly convicted and sentenced to death for the Elaine Massacre of 1919. His efforts helped them gain their freedom after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the defendants’ right to due process had been violated.
The Scipio A. Jones Station was dedicated in 2007. An Arkansan has commissioned a painting of Jones to donate to the post office, but as of now, the policy of the USPS is to decline gifts from entities other than the federal government. This legislation will allow the postmaster of the Scipio A. Jones Station to acquire and display a donated portrait of Jones.
Companion legislation was introduced in the House of Representatives by Congressman French Hill. The House Committee on Oversight and Reform unanimously approved the bill last month.