EDITOR'S NOTE: This story is being republished on Richland Source via permission from the North End Community Improvement's monthly newsletter.
Often when she sees people with whom she grew up Shirley Jordan says, “Hey Lily Street!” with a smile.
“I just remember everybody was just family,” she said. “On my North End it was Lily Street, Daisy, Mulberry, Harker, that area, we were all just really good friends, we walked to school together and just be together. I like the fact that even today when we see each other it’s ‘hey Lily Street hey!’ ”
Jordan first lived out on Bowman Street for a couple of months after her birth at Company House where Black people who worked for the Steel Mill lived.
“Then my family moved to Lily Street,” she said. “That is where I spent most of my years, on Lily Street. Lily Street was like a family street. Everybody was your mother; everybody was your auntie. If they saw you doing something wrong, they would get on you, then tell your parents and you got it twice.”
Jordan mentioned the Feagins, the Norris’, the Adley’s, the Davis family, the Bonner, and the Walton families who all grew up on the North End together.
“We were all close to each other, we were friends, we played ball in the street, we skated, we were outside, and we had a good life and good time.”
She said they all walked to school together up to the old Bowman Street School that was later named Creveling School, then they walked on up to Simpson School and then eventually to Mansfield Senior High School.
“Back in the day, we just supported each other,” Jordan reminisced. “Like, I ended up on the Homecoming court because one of my friends said they were going to nominate me to be the Black representative and I did get that.”
Jordan said she’s seen a lot growing up on Lily Street and has a lot of great memories. She said she has a street sign as part of her backyard decorations representing Harker, Lily and Crystal Springs Streets because I’m proud of my heritage.”
The late Bishop Walter E. Jordan originally was not a preacher, but an organist. He came from a whole family of musicians. The original name of the church was Greater St. John Church of God in Christ and was originally started on Main Street and moved to Harker Street when they first took over the church.
“I never would have married a preacher or a pastor,” she said.
“I told God ‘you tricked me’ because eight months after our pastor died, my husband became pastor. I told God ‘you tricked me’ because I would have never married a pastor. But God had other plans, so the rest is history, and we pastored the church 40 years to the exact date, then my son, Walter II, took over and he pastored for 15 years … ”
Mrs. Jordan remembered her brother-in-law, John Jordan, who was the first Black president of Mansfield Tire and Rubber Company. He was really integral with helping local Black children at the time.
She also remembered the Honorable Judge Jeff Payton (retired), the only black Mansfield Municipal Court Judge to date, who grew up on Daisy Street, which is the street behind Lily. Her uncle was also Fourth Ward Councilman Ocie Hill, who was the first Black Mansfield city councilman.
“God blessed the North End,” she said. “You just had a lot of accomplished people.”
Bishop Jordan and the late Rev. Dr. Walter Jordan II both were community minded and have left a legacy of helping the North End community.
“My husband kept in touch with the different agencies so if a person needed a job, he could direct them to an agency, if they needed healthcare, he would direct them there,” she said. “It wasn’t just church on Sunday evening and Wednesday evening Bible study; it was to help the total man to meet all of the needs.
"That’s why my son came up with the block party, to help thekids in the neighborhood.”
Back to her Lily Street days, Mrs. Jordan had many memories of going roller skating on Monday nights at The Coliseum, to teen dances at the Friendly House, going to a place called the Pink Swan for teen dances and having to learn how to swim in order to graduate high school.
She also remembered having to take baths in a tin tub and having her house shake when the train passed by on the tracks in the backyard.
“One thing I’ve learned is that you appreciate your beginnings and then when God blesses, you never get the big head because you know all of it came from Him. He allowed this to happen, and you never look down on anyone because we’re all the same.”