Roosevelt Jessie’s 90th Birthday Celebrates Generational Family Legacy

IMG_6000By: Tony McCray

Family and friends of the Jessie Family from all over the country celebrated Roosevelt Jessie’s 90th Birthday with storytelling, verbal and musical tributes, food, party and gospel music, dancing, and song this past weekend.  The celebration began at V. Paul’s Restaurant on Palafox St. in Downtown Pensacola and ending up at the Commerce Transportation Museum in the Pensacola Historical Village near Seville Square.

Roosevelt Jessie’s daughter Cathy Jessie organized an outstanding tribute to her father with fantastic venues, great food, memorable music presented by super talented artists and choirs. In an interview with the Pensacola Voice she stated, “Our intent was not to have a surprise celebration, but for our father to have a surprise experience, like places he had never been before, and to share that experience with the friends and family”!

Comments from persons in attendance acknowledged that Cathy, and her brother Carlton Jessie, and her sister Linda Browning accomplished their “surprise” objective. For example, V. Paul’s Italian Ristorante in Downtown Pensacola at 29 Palafox Place was definitely a surprise venue for Pensacola’s African-American Community to experience great food, a very up-scale environment, fantastic fellowship, and fun-filled line dancing.

On Sunday, the second day of the celebration, the center of the experience was created at The Historic Christ Church in the Historic Pensacola Village which was right across from Seville Square.  The entertainment included the Bethel AME Choir, one of Roosevelt Jessie’s home churches, to the professional presentation by the gospel group, The Visionaries, and a very melodic female gospel group with Jeronda Golston, Vida Jerralds, Donna Dean, and Jennifer Randolph.

The weekend celebration was concluded at Pensacola’s Museum of Commerce with the food for the “after party” event catered by Pensacola’s Po Folk’s Restaurant Franchise from 6895 N. 9TH Ave. Of course the attendees enjoyed the main fare of fried chicken and baked fish with great sides and desert to make the fare complete.

Cathy made it clear that the relationships she established during her 50th birthday celebration in Pensacola provided her with the support from the local business community that set the stage for one of Pensacola’s birthday celebration to always be remembered.

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