When Emanuel Williams read the 2008 edition of Assemblies of God Heritage magazine, he could not believe who he saw peering back at him from the pages of history — Cornelia Jones Robertson, his childhood pastor! Mother Jones was one of the featured pioneers in the article, “Known and Yet Unknown: Women of Color and the Assemblies of God,” written by Jessica Faye Carter.
Emanuel contacted me (I serve as the magazine’s editor and as the director of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center) to express his appreciation for the article. I was thrilled to find someone who was a close friend of not only Mother Jones, but also of her “grandson,” Bob Harrison (Harrison was a close family friend of Mother Jones, though not related to her by blood).
Mother Jones became, in 1923, one of the earliest African-Americans ordained by the Assemblies of God. Harrison is best-known for breaking the color barrier in the Assemblies of God in 1962, when General Superintendent Thomas F. Zimmerman invited him to become an ordained minister, thus overturning a policy, instituted in 1939, denying ordination to African-Americans.