Eugene Kinckle Jones was one of the seven founders of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity at Cornell University in 1906. He became the second President of the Alpha chapter.
Jones was born in Richmond, Virginia, in 1885. His father, Joseph Jones, was a former slave, but his mother Rosa was born free. Jones attended Wayland Academy, the high school branch of Virginia Union University where his father worked as a professor and his mother was a teacher. Upon graduation from high school, Jones entered Virginia Union, earning an undergraduate degree in 1905.
He later enrolled at Cornell University in 1906 at the age of 21. He studied engineering and later transferred into sociology. He graduated from Cornell in 1908 with an M.A. in sociology. Jones taught at the University of Louisville from 1908 to 1909, and was a high school instructor at Louisville High School from 1909 to 1911.
Jones played a role in creating Opportunity: Journal of Negro Life magazine with Charles Spurgeon Johnson and assisting the Urban League expand to forty branches nationwide. He was awarded an honorary degree from Virginia Union University in 1924. He died at his home in Queens, New York, in 1954.