Pastor Basha Jordan, Jr., grandson of Elder Jordan, at his family’s grave site in the Lincoln Cemetery
“Remember the Titans” was a 2000 American sports film produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and directed by Boaz Yakin. The movie starred Denzel Washington as a new coach charged with leading a racially diverse football team in Alexandria, Va.
The film touched on some very serious social issues such as racism and discrimination in and on the football field. In one scene where Coach Boone, portrayed by Washington, had the boys practice in a graveyard, he told them to “listen to the souls of the dead.”
Legal Redress committee chair Brian Battaglia utilized this epic story to lay the case to the Gulfport City Council to approve a resolution, memorializing their commitment to do all within their authority to support the preservation of the Lincoln Cemetery’s history and its maintenance.
Battaglia eloquently supported his case, mentioning some of those who fought for this country and others who have been giants in the struggle for social justice in St. Petersburg. It is from those who are gone before us that we must keep their memories alive. It is from the dead that our children understand a sense of who they are.
Battaglia’s presentation was anchored by support from Councilmember Yolanda Roman who presented a very detailed history of one of the greats buried at the cemetery, Elder Jordan. Jordan was a former slave turned businessman who gave the City of St. Petersburg the land that Jordan Park now sits on.
Other support came from Congressman David Jolly, who made a presentation to the council pledging his full support of the Lincoln resolution. Former Councilmember Wengay Newton came to show his support and State Representatives Kathleen Peters and Daryl Rouson offered their written support.
Pinellas County Commissioner Ken Welch, however, brought the support of the Lincoln Cemetery home by recommending $90,000 of the BP oil money is spent towards the restoration and preservation of the historic site.
Two day later, the Commission approved the $90,000 during their work session. They still have to have a final vote on the project allocations (staff is gathering additional information on some of the projects), but Welch foresees no issues.