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Virgie Lee Jordan

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Marker is located on northwest corner of Kentucky and Baltic Avenues at Stanley Holmes Village

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1927-2009
Born in Petersburg, Va., this longtime Atlantic City resident began her life's work in 1976 when she established the Stanley S. Holmes Village Work Team in the public housing complex in which she resided. Beginning with her efforts to improve conditions in the playground behind her home, Jordan acquired some equipment and supplies, and put the village kids to work. The work team she founded and presided over for 37 years, became a summer activities program for children ages three to 18, as well as an after school program for the balance of the year providing tutoring, arts and crafts, stage plays, aerobics, fashion and talent shows, karate classes, computer training and a scholarship program. Among her many awards, she received the Private Sector Initiative Commendation from the President of the United States of America in 1985, The Hometown Hero Award from the Philadelphia 76ers, The Black Image – Image Award, and a special proclamation from the City of Atlantic City declaring March 6, 1987 "Virgie Jordan Day." She was inducted into the Atlantic County Women Hall of Fame in 2002.

 

Additional information:


Virgie Jordan had five children of her own, but many more than that viewed her as their mother. Jordan's father was a minister, and church always played an important role in her own life. She put those teachings and compassion to work in her creation of the Village Work Team, which gave neighborhood children an outlet while teaching responsibility at the same time. Her principles for the Work Team were "Teach Children Respect," "Demand Hard Work," "Combine Learning with Having Fun," and, "At every opportunity, show the mysteries of the world waiting outside their red brick homes." Jordan succeeded in doing this for many children over the years, some who have gone on to become teachers, lawyers, police officers and firefighters. Even Atlantic City Mayor Lorenzo Langford was a member of the Work Team in his youth. In addition to running the Work Team, Jordan also worked as a preschool Head Start teacher, and even took the time during her busy schedule to attend career-improvement classes in New York City. Jordan died in 2009, but while hospitalized, continued to organize events and plans for her work team. According to her nurses, Jordan had so many visitors in the hospital that they wondered if she was a celebrity. And to many of the children who were members of her Village Work Team, she was.

For more information, see these resources in the Atlantic City Free Public Library, Atlantic City Heritage Collections:
Atlantic City Press, article from May 30, 2009, and Atlantic City Life supplement article from March 31, 1994