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Sep 13

A LONG FALL FROM GRACE

Community citizens say former neighborhood cornerstone, Ella L. Jordan home, is in disarray and in desperate need of repair.

By Wesley Martin
“I’ve been in this neighborhood since 1931,” said the 86-year-old resident of the Belmont-DeVilliers neighborhood, Sallie Cox.  As a tenured resident, Cox says she hates to see the shape her beloved neighborhood is in. Still, there is something that hurts even more – the demise of the Ella L. Jordan home.

“It’s important to me because I got married on that porch and I had two children who were born in that house,” Cox said. Cox said she was even a tenant of the home years ago.

Built in 1890, Ella L. Jordan bought the home located at La Rua and “C” Streets in 1929. She served as the first president of the Pensacola Federation of Colored Women’s Club. Back then the group mostly consisted of educators. Throughout the years, the house served not only as a meeting place for Black social organizations during segregation, but as a boarding house and a clinic.

The Federation of Colored Women bought the home in 1959 and named it after Jordan. During the late 1980’s, the home received an $80,000 grant to refurbish the property.

Sadly, due to 2004’s Hurricane Ivan, the home suffered great structural damage.  Presently, all windows and doors have been boarded. The roof, which needs to be replaced according to sources, is covered with a blue tarp.
Mother Wit Institute, Inc., a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that has been in existence since 1996, started an initiative to  restore the property. The organization has applied for a grant with the State of Florida’s Division of Historical Resources, but they aren’t waiting for grant funding to begin the restoration process.

Georgia Blackmon, Executive Director of Mother Wit, says they are working with Pensacola’s Federation of Colored Women to restore the Jordan home.

“We took the Ella L. Jordon home on as a project under the umbrella of Mother Wit,” Blackmon said.  Blackmon said Mother Wit will host a cleanup of the Jordan home this upcoming Saturday, September 15, at 8 a.m. She also said that if anyone would like to make a financial contribution to the cause, they can address checks to The Gathering Awareness bookstore (located at 2737 North E Street) noting that the contribution is for the Ella L. Jordan home project.

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1 comment

  1. George Hawthorne

    Why doesn’t the Gulf Coast African American Chamber of Commerce get involved in fundraising for this project? It needs a “public project” with a high profile to make it relevent again.

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