(Above) Pleas Jones had a hard time when he was convinced by Dr. I.A. Watson Jr., DDS to sign up for the National Publix golf tournament, but he won the City Publix on numerous occasions. Here Jones (left) is pictured with the small trophy he kept and the larger trophy that remained with him for one year until he passed it on to that year’s winner. Considering all the first place trophies won by Jones, why is it that The Commercial Appeal always manages to pull up pictures of his second place efforts he wonders? All pictures in this store are courtesy of Pleas Jones’s personal files. now. Back then we didn’t realize that we had the right to these things and we were therefore denied a lot of rights we should have had being tax-paying citizens. We were just ignorant to the fact.” The June 2019 edition of NEWSCENE featured a full-length story regarding the T.O. Fuller State Park which was the first state park opened for African Americans east of the Mississippi River. According to the park’s website T.O. Fuller State Park opened in 1938 as the Shelby County Negro State Park, the name was changed to T.O. Fuller State Park in 1942 in honor of Dr. Thomas Oscar Fuller, another one of those prominent persons mentioned throughout this story. Fuller was an educator, pastor, politician, civic leader, and author who spent his life empowering and educating African Americans. He served as principal of the Howe Institute, a precursor to LeMoyne-Owen College for 27 years. “I never knew for years, even though I knew the golf course was named T.O. Fuller, that Fuller was a black man,” said Jones who was a member of the Sam Quarles Golf Club during those years. “Early on I was going with Dollar Sanders because I was caddying for him. I got into the club when I was real young because I was good enough to play in tournaments. That’s when I began to play golf. We traveled to Kansas City and St. Louis, MO; Nashville, Des Moines, IA, and other places. We were the junior flight golfers. The first time I went to St. Louis to play, there were two other juniors from Memphis playing. We would always get there in time to play a practice round. The first time I saw the golf course I shot an even par. Of course it was kind of a practice round, but we finished 1, 2, and 3, in first, second, and third place.” Jones continued to perfect his game throughout the years and the next decade brought a new set of rules to the deep south. Continued on Page 20 11

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