Jo Jones Spivey, born September 26, 1917, was a native of Asheville, North Carolina, and a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Journalism. Jones reported for newspapers in Coffeyville, Kansas, and in Asheville, Raleigh, and Greensboro, North Carolina. In 1951, she began working for the Greensboro Record as police reporter, an unusual assignment for a woman at that time. During the 1960s, she covered local civil rights events and spent twenty three years assigned to the local government beat. Spivey reported on many sit-ins, demonstrations, and controversies, including the integration of city’s five-and-dime stores, the 1955 public golf course integration, and the segregation of the city-owned Lindley Park swimming pool.
In 1971, the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce honored her with the Edward R. Murrow Award for journalistic achievement—the first woman thus honored. In 1974, Spivey was recognized by the Governor’s Council on Employment of the Handicapped and received both the Distinguished Service Award and the Citizen of the Year award for a story she did on the barriers that disabled people experience; the story led to local implementation of sidewalks, parking spaces, and building modifications for the handicapped. In 1977, she became the local business reporter for the News and Record and in 1984, she retired from reporting. She was honored by the city government at a banquet attended by the mayor and members of City Council. In 1990, Spivey received the Stepping Stone to Freedom Award for her reporting of the sit-ins. During that same year, she organized a permanent display at the Greensboro Historical Museum to honor the 30th anniversary of the sit-in movement. She was also instrumental in getting Sycamore Street renamed February One Place. Jo Spivey died in Greensboro on April 15, 2003, at the age of 85.