Johnnie W. Jones, an 83-year-old retired military officer, achieved a milestone in his life: he became the oldest Black person ever to earn a PhD in sociology from Louisiana State University (LSU). Jones enlisted in the US Marine Corps at 18, and then left the military in 1973. He decided to pursue his education and enrolled in university night classes to complete his Bachelor’s degree in Sociology. Due to the war, he was unable to continue his studies beyond the sixth grade.
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Johnnie Jones obtained his Bachelor’s degree in sociology at the University of Hawaii, then went on to pursue a Master’s degree in social work and a PhD in human ecology at LSU. However, his journey was far from easy, as a significant medical problem caused him to lose several years of study. Despite this setback, Jones was determined to succeed and persevered until he had accomplished his goal.
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Jones has no plans of stopping there – he now intends to complete a Bachelor of Laws. In an interview with The Advocate, he said: “Age is a fabricated restriction. The numbers 65, 75, 95, and 105 are not very magical. Your physical and mental fitness should serve as a guide for your conduct and activities.”