Lillie Mae Jones is born in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.
Lillie Mae Jones moves from Mississippi to Richmond with her family.
During World War II, Lillie's stepfather migrated to Richmond to work in the World War II Kaiser shipyards, and her mother found work in the U.S. Post Office in Richmond.
Lillie Mae Jones pursues her education in the 1950's.
Lillie's experiences from living in Richmond during a time of great racial tension inspired her to work in community organizing. She received a bachelors degree from Kennedy University before furthering her education in community organizing through the School of Community Empowerment. The methods she learned there allowed her to carry out many successful community projects.
Lillie Mae Jones becomes involved in activism to control flooding along Wildcat Creek.
Much of North Richmond was settled by Kaiser shipyard workers (like Lillie's stepfather), who lost their jobs after the war. They were segregated by the real estate industry in an area with no stormwater facilities and no controls on the every-other-year flood damages from Wildcat Creek. Approached by two of her friends, who were community leaders in North Richmond, she made a commitment to them to help achieve the best quality flood control project for North Richmond.
The North Richmond Model Cities Plan is adopted.
The Plan, which was developed through intensive participation by the North Richmond community, featured Wildcat Creek as an educational, recreational and economic asset, and called for protecting and enhancing the environment along the creek.
The Contra Costa County Public Works Department and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announce their preferred plan for Wildcat Creek, which violates the Model Cities Plan.
The agencies planned to straighten the creek into a concrete flood control channel with dangerous fast moving water, including a closed-in underpass next to Verde School where children could be swept in. The agencies told the community to “take it or leave it.” Lillie supported the community leaders who wanted the Model Cities Plan honored, and held a community workshop in which she declared that no government agencies or officials could put the community in a take-it or leave-it option.
Lillie Mae Jones co-founds the Wildcat-San Pablo Creeks Watershed Council, requiring collaboration among all agencies and elected officials to produce a consensus plan to address the flood risk and environmental protection for Wildcat Creek.
In just one year, this planning process overcame a 29-year stalemate and produced a consensus plan for the creek that honored the Model Cities Plan. The Wildcat-San Pablo Creeks Watershed Council is the first known watershed council located in urban California and remains active today. Contra Costa County enthusiastically sponsors the council and has used it as a model for working in other watersheds in the county.
Construction begins on Wildcat Creek.
The project, guided by the community's preference to protect the environment along Wildcat Creek as an educational and recreational asset, was the first flood control project of its kind. It eventually became recognized by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as a national environmental engineering model.
Lillie Mae Jones receives a "Speaking Out Award" from an organization called Freedom to Speak Out, a Root of Democracy.
The organization, based in Marin County, recognized Lillie for her role in helping the North Richmond community achieve its vision and not submitting to government agencies and officials who did not want to go through the inconveniences of changing plans to protect the environment.
Lillie Mae Jones passes away at her home in Richmond at age 85.