By: Tony McCray
The Campaign to Save the Ella Jordan Home on the southwest corner of “C” and LaRua Streets has reached the $75,000 level with ongoing expenditures of approximately $25,000 to begin the restoration by meeting the City of Pensacola building code to secure the site. The campaign’s Oversight Committee, with Mr. Walter Gulley, Ms. Beverlyn Sanford Baines, Dr. Janet Pilcher, Mr. Timothy H. Evans, Mr. Johnny Blackmon, Ms. S. Houston, and Mrs. Georgia Blackmon have achieved the momentum at this point with a team-oriented approach.
Timothy Evans, the Executive Director of Pensacola Habitat for Humanity, has jumped into this effort by officially designating the restoration project as one of its neighborhood revitalization initiatives. Habitat’s collaboration with the Mother Wit Institute, exemplifies how the non-profit’s board of directors describes the restoration partnership as “working together with the larger Pensacola Community to preserve history”.
Earlier this month, Dr. Tracy Thomas, a State of Florida leader in the Order of the Eastern Star and an Associate Professor at Florida A & M University, spoke at a fundraiser at Booker T. Washington High School and articulated the role of the Jordan Home purchased in 1929 by Ella Jordan. Dr. Thomas, spoke of how this African-American seamstress opened up her home to community gatherings, meetings and education of neighborhood children during the Great Depression and segregation.
In December, the collaboration of organizations gutted and dried out the Ella Jordan Home and draped the roof with a blue tarp to stop the building’s deterioration. Add the relationship with the Florida African American Museum Association to the list of partners which is providing guidance in the preservation initiative as that organization restored the John G. Riley House, a historic home in Tallahassee.
The next fundraiser will be held on May 7th when prominent women in the local African-American community will represent the former presidents of the Federated Home at the historical Jordan site from 11:00 am till 2:00 pm. Watch the Pensacola Voice for more information on this event.