Has anyone seen this portrait of Elder Jordan Sr., one of St. Pete’s founding fathers? His son, Elder Jordan, Jr., is shown above on the right.
BY PIA WINTERS JORDAN, Contributor
ST. PETERSBURG — The portrait of the man for whom Jordan Park is named, Elder Jordan Sr., is missing. At least, its current location is a mystery to members of his family.
His grandson, Rev. Dr. Basha Jordan, Jr., and I, his granddaughter-in-law, saw it on display in a library several years ago, but attempts to find it in the library system have been unsuccessful.
It is believed the portrait was unveiled at a ceremony in St. Petersburg decades ago. Another picture of him was published in the “Black America Series: St. Petersburg, Florida” by Sandra W. Rooks in 2003.
His middle name is unknown, but this former enslaved man’s first name was Elder, not a title as some might think.
Reportedly, Jordan Sr. came to St. Pete in the early 1900s and became an entrepreneur — owning real estate, a beach, nightclub, and bus line.
He and his wife, Mary Frances Jordan, raised six children. Their daughter, Anita, died when she was a child. Their five sons included Elder, Jr., McKinley, Columbus, Harry and Basha Sr., who helped their father build his legacy in Florida.
Basha Jordan, both senior and junior, both became pastors in the Baltimore-Washington Conference of the United Methodist Church. The younger Basha Jordan, Jr. moved to his father’s hometown in 2015 after founding a non-denominational ministry to focus on helping those who suffer from addiction to alcohol and drugs.
It is believed Rev. Basha Jordan, Jr. is the only relative of Elder Jordan, Sr., now living in St. Petersburg.
The junior Elder Jordan’s photo — a man wearing a hat with his hand on a fence — has mistakenly been exhibited at a downtown museum and in the media as the senior Jordan. Basha Jordan, Jr. said that picture is of his uncle Elder Jordan, Jr. and not his grandfather.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have the answer to the mystery.
Pia Jordan is a former broadcast journalist and retired associate professor of multimedia journalism at Morgan State University in Baltimore.