Jane Floyd was born in St. Louis but spent summers at the Selma, Ohio, farm of her maternal grandparents, John Penn and Barbara Ann Woodson. She first learned of her lineage when she shared her elopement plans with her mother, Jane Ann Woodson Gordon (1890–1972). “That’s how she happened to tell me about being descended from Thomas Jefferson.”
Mrs. Floyd studied at Stowe Teacher’s College and the University of Southern California, among many other institutions, and worked as a teacher. She married Samuel Kaiser and had two sons, Arthur and James. When Arthur was denied admission to an all-white Catholic school in 1943, Mrs. Floyd fought to desegregate Catholic schools in St. Louis. Two years later, “they opened them up,” she recalled. Both of her sons became successful businessmen. James Kaiser is a founder of the Black Executive Leadership Council.
23 Oct. 1995, Los Angeles, CA Interviewee: Jane Floyd
“We were to keep it a secret”
Jane Floyd recalls her mother telling her about her ancestry.