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Saving The Historic Ella Jordan Home

Efforts are underway to preserve the old Ella Jordan Home in Pensacola. A public awareness and fund-raising event will be held this Saturday, Aug. 1, at the site of the house near downtown.

Organizers of the project say the home is a cornerstone of the city’s African-American history.

“We want to tie the community to the house and let them that this is a very important part of history that should be saved,” said Georgia Blackmon.

Blackmon is president of the board of the non-profit Mother Wit Institute, Inc., whose members are working to rally support for their plans to repair and restore the house which is named in honor of Ella L. Jordan.

Jordan was a community leader, educator, and political activist.  She was the first president of the Pensacola Federation of Colored Women’s Clubs in the 1930's.

“She started the Colored Women’s Federated Club there and she just did a lot of clubs,” Blackmon said. “The Ladies of Distinction was a part of it. Eleanor Roosevelt came in here; that’s not documented. But, Booker T. Washington’s wife came in and that’s documented.”

For decades, the house was a social and educational institution in Pensacola, serving the African-American community in a variety of ways. According to Blackmon, it dealt with economics, health and politics. Also, weddings were held there, in addition to tutoring and etiquette training for children.

The house was built in the 1890's and was purchased by Jordan in 1929. It still sits at the corner of “C” and LaRua streets.

But, it hasn’t been used for years and in 2004 suffered significant damage from Hurricane Ivan. At this point, extensive work and money will be needed to bring it back to life.

“A lot of people wanted to pull it down and rebuild, but we wanted to keep the historical part, and so that’s what we’re doing,” said Blackmon.

The “Campaign to Save the Historic Ella Jordan House” launched in 2012. They’ll need to raise $380,000 for the project, with the goal of turning the home into a museum.

To assist in that effort, the organizing committee has joined the Association of African American Museums. Blackmon says, they also plan to restore all of the previous functions at Ella Jordan House to include after-school tutoring and weddings.

Now, it’s about heightening the public’s awareness of the Ella Jordan Home.

In the coming months, professors from historically Black colleges, such as Florida A&M, Alabama State, and Bethune-Cookman will come to Pensacola to present public lectures.  

This Saturday, officials from the City of Pensacola are expected to join the Mother Wit Institute for a fundraising event from 11am to 2pm at the home’s location on North C Street. More information about the home and the effort to save it can be found the home's website and Facebook page.

Sandra Averhart has been News Director at WUWF since 1996. Her first job in broadcasting was with (then) Pensacola radio station WOWW107-FM, where she worked 11 years. Sandra, who is a native of Pensacola, earned her B.S. in Communication from Florida State University.