97-year-old Pitt Co. educator uses MLK Jr. Day to reflect

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – While some chose to serve on Martin Luther King Jr. Day and others simply took the day off, Rosalie Jones, who has lived in her west Greenville home for almost 60 years, used the day to reflect.

Jones is 97 years old. That means 17 different presidents, four major wars and a whole lot of change.

“It’s almost unbelievable the things I’ve seen,” said Jones.

Some of that change has affected the block Jones lives in. Her daughter, Ronita Jones, tried to explain.

“It has gone, I believe, from being a neighborhood that was full of houses and apartments that people took pride in and took care of, and now it’s gone to an area where the houses, several of them are run down,” said Ronita Jones. “The apartments, … a lot of them have been torn down.”

Jones owns the house, which she bought back in the 1950s. It was during a time when she said not a lot of black owned their houses, and if you did you took pride in it and took care of it.

The west Greenville she sees now is not the same.

“It makes me cry,” said Jones.

Outside of west Greenville, Jones’ take on life is a little different.

The former educator remembers a time when black teachers weren’t given the right resources, whether that meant broken materials or inadequate space.

Jones is optimistic and said she was proud of where black people are today. Jones said Martin Luther King Jr. would have mixed reviews about today’s society.

He wouldn’t like the way some of the black communities look, but he’d love how far the country has come.

So that’s why Jones charges the community to keep the train moving in 2017.

“It’s not the best,” said Jones. “We can do better.”

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