Skip to main content


Julia Virginia Jones was born in rural Shelby, N.C., in 1948. The civic and professional activism of her mother and grandmother heavily influenced Jones’ definition of femininity, and she points to her father’s abrupt death as forming a defining moment in her perception of gender roles. Rather than assuming married life would offer her lifelong security, Jones came to realize that she needed to be able to support herself independently. Religion played a significant role in her family, as did Democratic politics. Given the changing racial climate of the 1960s rural South, Jones admits her disenchantment with her church. Jones purposefully chose an all-women’s college, Queens College, to develop her academic and leadership skills. She married her husband immediately after her undergraduate graduation and decided to follow him along his career path. She worked as a teacher and then applied to law school, accepting a full scholarship at Wake Forest School of Law. After clerking two years for Judge Woodrow Jones, she obtained an associate position with Moore & Van Allen, where she practiced as litigator. In 1990, she was elected to the N.C. Superior Court bench where she spent the remainder of her career. She was undergoing cancer treatment at the time of this interview: she affectionately labels her supportive friends and family as “Fighting Okra” because of okra’s raw strength and tenacity, characteristics she sees in her supporters.

Link to Audio / Transcript: