By: Tony McCray
Pensacola City Councilwoman, Jewel Canada-Wynn, and Mother Wit Institute, Inc. managed by Georgia and Johnny Blackmon held a unique Christmas fundraiser at 4:00 pm this past Sunday at the Trinity Missionary Baptist Church on 310 N. “D” Street. The event was called the “Ella Jordan Christmas Special God with Us” Fundraiser with Christmas hymns and songs commemorating the true “reason for the season”!
Georgia Blackmon provided an update to the audience on the Jordan House in attendance, that Mother Wit Institute’s goal to establish the house as a museum is being strengthened by the technical assistance of Althemese Barnes, the Founding Director of the John Gilmore Riley Center/Museum of African American History and Culture in Tallahassee.
Blackmon recited off several exhibits that are planned to be spotlighted in the Ella Jordan Museum when it is completed. One such exhibit planned is the story of the lawsuit filed by ten African-American leaders that sued for single-member voting districts and won. Thus, County Commissioner Lumon May, City Council Members Jewel Canada-Wynn and Councilman Gerald Wingate are all elected to office in single-member districts, which directly benefits the representation of the African-American Community on the Escambia County Commission and the Pensacola City Council.
The choirs of both Trinity Missionary Baptist Church and St. Joseph Catholic Church performed depicting the spiritual essence of the season. The Roland Family provided outstanding performances which all had the church audience giving standing ovations as the father Maurice Roland, son Michael Roland, and mother Marilyn Roland hit the notes of heaven in their presentations. Then there was the elder maestro, Albert Martin, who gave two Christmas songs his “concert recital execution”! Anita Johnson’s contribution brought Al Martin back to the keyboard in a rousing rendition of “God Has Smiled On Me”. That got the entire church joining in to respond to her request for them to be her church choir as she stepped and danced to the feeling brought on by the Holy Spirit.
Georgia Blackmon exclaimed, “I have not seen that type of old-fashioned church Christmas program in a long time! All of those voices and presentations were off the chain! We owe the success of this program to City Councilwoman Jewel Canada-Wynn!”
The 10 year Pensacola City Council representative returned the credit to Georgia Blackmon stating that Blackmon had shared with her the importance of keeping the preservation of the Ella Jordon House in the forefront of the local community. So, Wynn thought a Christmas church oriented celebration with local gospel talent would be a way to help the Blackmon’s and their Mother Wit Institute and their Board of Directors accomplish that goal.
Evidently, those in attendance responded in agreement by helping the non-profit, Mother Wit Institute by making over $1400 in contributions. Councilwoman Wynn stated in an interview with the Gulf Voice that, “I want the community to get behind the preservation and restoration of this building as a place to celebrate and teach our local Black history when the Ella Jordan House becomes a museum.”
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.”