The John Sunday Society — originally established in 2016 in a bid to save Sunday’s historic 1901 house in downtown Pensacola — is relaunching with a broader mission: to raise awareness of Pensacola’s diverse history and advocate for the preservation of Pensacola’s historic places and spaces.
“While we couldn’t save the John Sunday House, our efforts made Pensacolians in every corner of the city aware of Sunday’s story and started a new conversation about preserving our city’s history,” said president Teníadé Broughton.
The society will place a special, but not exclusive, focus on Pensacola’s underrepresented history by shining a light on untold stories of people of color, immigrants, and women in the city’s history.
“There are so many people of color who played pivotal roles in our city’s history, but their stories don’t fit into the traditional narrative and have fallen by the wayside,” Broughton said. “It’s time to tell those stories and present a broader view of how the Pensacola we know came to be.”
The John Sunday Society will also publish a biannual list of Pensacola’s top ten most endangered historic places and public spaces. The first such list will be released in the near future, said vice president Teresa Hill.
“We’ve lost so many irreplaceable treasures in recent years,” Hill said. “The John Sunday House, the West Hill Taxi Stand, and the Hallmark School are gone, and now buildings like our historic USO and the Pensacola Vocational School are under immediate threat of demolition. We’re going to be working to raise awareness of how special these buildings are and how many of them don’t even have any special status or protections.”
Hill said the society will also work to bridge the gap between urban development and historic preservation.
“We don’t have to choose between redevelopment and preservation,” Hill said. “We can do both. We can work together to repurpose historic structures, saving our city’s rich history while shaping its future.”
Continuing to promote and preserve the legacy of John Sunday — the son of a slave who rose to be one of the wealthiest black men in the Jim Crow South — will remain at the core of the society’s mission.
Other projects planned by the John Sunday Society include the placement of new historic markers, the first of which will also be announced in the coming weeks.
Learn more at johnsunday.org
Editor’s note: Drew Buchanan, Editor of The Pulse, serves on the board of directors for the John Sunday Society