For the first time in St. Petersburg history, the city is erecting a statue to honor one of its own citizens.
Elder Jordan was born into slavery in 1848 and bought his freedom at age 15. Then, after moving to St. Petersburg, he started selling fruit on the streets and transformed it into a profitable business.
“Having come from slavery background to become the richest African-American in St. Petersburg in his 20s and 30s, and then to have enough land to be able to give 26 acres to Saint Petersburg for the express purpose of establishing affordable decent housing for African-Americans – It’s a poignant fact.“, said Jordan’s grandson, Rev. Dr. Basha Jordan, Jr.
Those 26 acres became known as the Jordan Park housing development in South St. Pete. Jordan also built the Jordan Dancehall, which became known as the historic Manhattan Casino. An elementary school also bears his name.
On Tuesday, city leaders gathered at the corner of 22nd Street South and Seventh Avenue, where they unveiled a bronze statue of Elder Jordan.
“He was a remarkable man who didn’t just build a dancehall or fight to get a school constructed, he built opportunity,“ St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman said.
The lasting tribute is humbling to the Jordan family.
“If there’s one thing you want people to remember about him, it’s that anything is possible.” Rev. Jordan said. “All things are possible if you only believe.”