Born on February 8, 1902 in Smithville, GA, died on July 17, 1984.
She learned her songs from her grandfather, a former slave born in Africa. She was a founding member of the Georgia Sea Island Singers. Alan Lomax first encountered Bessie Jones on a southern trip in 1959. Jones made her way up to New York City two years later and asked Lomax to record both her music and biography.