Who is Doug Jones? Civil Rights activist, attorney and University of Alabama alum

UNITED STATES – DECEMBER 9: Democratic candidate for Senate Doug Jones speaks holds a media availability with Selma Mayor Darrio Melton, Rep. Terri Sewell, D-Ala., and former Gov. Deval Patrick, D-Mass., outside of the Brown Chapel AME Church in Selma, Ala., on Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

MONTGOMERY — Doug Jones special election victory over Roy Moore marks the first time Alabama has elected a Democrat to the Senate in 25 years. 

But who is Jones?

Here’s a primer on the newly elected Democratic Senator:

University of Alabama alum

One day in 1973, Doug Jones was in a cotton tie mill in Fairfield’s steel works, where red-bithot steel billets 10 feet long would “go through this press that would reduce it down to metal that would be real thin metal that would tie up bales of cotton,”Jones had just finished his first year at the University of Alabama. His grades, he recalled in a recent interview, “weren’t that great” and his father, a longtime company veteran, decided his son “needed some incentive to work harder.”

So Jones worked six days a week, 10 hours a day at the mill, performing different jobs. On this day, the teenager helped collect scrap metal to go into a machine known as a scrap baller, which turned the excess into balls for salvage. As Jones and a co-worker fed the machine, it got stuck.

More: Twitter thanks #BlackWomen for voting for Democrat Doug Jones in Alabama

“You’ve got these big old hooks you’re supposed to use,” Jones said in a recent interview. “Well, the other old guy who was using it was not using the hook, so I didn’t use the hook either. I yanked on that big old ball of scrap when I did, and a piece of metal sprung up and hit me right between the eyes.”

Jones got away with a bleeding wound. It could have been worse.

“If it had been left or right in any eye, I know I would have lost an eye and it would have done serious damage and probably killed me,” he said. “It hit in the right spot, because I’m hard-headed as hell anyway.”

Jones graduated from the University of Alabama in 1976; his accident in the steel mill, he said, spurred him to improve his grades. At Alabama, he served in the Student Senate and as president of the Off-Campus Association; he also worked in the office of then-Lt. Gov. Jere Beasley. He later attended the Cumberland School of Law, stealing away from his classes in 1977 to watch then-Alabama Attorney General Bill Baxley wage his successful prosecution of Bob Chambliss for the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in 1963.

Read more at USA Today.