By: Tony McCray
A Mother’s Day event was held on Saturday at the Ella Jordan Home on the corner of LaRua and “C” Streets. This unique fundraiser focused on the past presidents of the Ella Jordan Federated Home with local women of Pensacola representing these community leaders. Emma Fails represented Ella Jordan, Hattie Hosea represented Modeste James, Dr. Joyce Hopson stood in for Ruby Gainer, Sandra McMeans stood in for Alice McMeans, and Jewell Cannada-Wynn represented Beverlyn Baines.
Reginald Dogan of the Studer Group served as Master of Ceremonies for the event on a sunny Saturday morning. Beverlyn Baines brought the Welcome following the Prayer by Deacon Fred Young of Mt. Canaan Baptist Church. The Occasion was delivered by Georgia Blackmon as she focused on the ongoing efforts by Mother Wit and the larger community to preserve one of Pensacola’s prime African-American heritage treasures. Blackmon articulated in an interview with the Pensacola Voice that the work on the building’s foundation is about to begin and the roof will be next. The group raised approximately $1000 during the event.
Retired educator, Sandra McMeans spoke on, “How the Ella Jordan House Touched My Life”! Her comments spoke to the legacy of the women that maintained the house as a place of constant activity in the neighborhood just west of the Belmont-DeVilliers Business District. In an interview after the event Emma Fails who represented Ella Jordan stated that she kind of forgot about the Federated Home and its significance to Pensacola’s African-American population. However, once she began speaking with the Mother Wit organization and Georgia Blackmon, she remembered the many civic and social events that were held at the Jordan Home. When asked how did it feel representing Ella Jordan, and she replied, “I loved it I loved it”! She went on to say, “Black women have always been strong women and knew what to do to make ends meet”.
Dr. Joyce Hopson, President of National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Pensacola Chapter, Inc. took a stand to represent Dr. Ruby J. Gainer. Dr. Hopson chose Dr. Gainer because of her leadership role in the community, and she stated, “We both shared and worked on several committees with the Top Ladies of Distinction and as Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorors. We as an organization have supported the Mother Wit Institute, Inc. Oversight Committee, and Mr. & Mrs. Blackmon for keeping the vision of saving this home that was started by Mrs. Ella Jordan”!
She went on the state, ”It will be my distinct pleasure as a women, a member of OES, C.B. Nelson Daniel #41, NAACP, AKA Sorority, Inc., National Council of Negro Woman, and President of NCBW, Pensacola Chapter, Inc. to be a part of this legacy. As a result of her foundation many African-Americans were able to enjoy educational and social events that brought unity to the segregated community. One of the things that I believe in is that in order for us to move forward, we have to remember when we came from”! Dr. Hopson also spoke of the incredible amount of faith and dedication shown by Ella Jordan. She then closed by saying, “We all do know that faith without works is dead, therefore, we as a community striving and pushing forward with our faith and work to support and save Ella Jordan Home”. Built in 1890, Ella L. Jordan bought the home located at LaRua and “C” Streets in 1929. She served as the first president of the Pensacola Federation of Colored Women’s Club.
The Mother Wit Institute, Inc., has been in existence since 1996, and launched the initiative to restore the property. Georgia Blackmon stated, “We took the Ella L. Jordon home on as a project under the umbrella of Mother Wit and anyone interested in donating to the effort can write their check to Mother Wit Institute, Inc. at 314. N. DeVilliers St or call us at (850) 426-1229”.