Dr. Edith Irby Jones was the first African American woman to attend and to graduate from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. At the time she was admitted, she became the first African American to attend any previously segregated medical school in the South.
Though she was admitted to the school, she was not allowed to use the same dining, lodging, or bathroom facilities as the white students. She later noted that the African American janitorial staff placed a vase of fresh flowers on her table every day in the segregated dining room she shared with the staff. While at UAMS, she traveled the state to promote the NAACP as a token of appreciation for the work that organization had done to help raise funds for her schooling and lodging.
After graduating from medical school, she practiced medicine in Hot Springs before she and her husband eventually relocated to Texas. She practiced medicine in Houston for fifty years.