Takoma Park in Montgomery County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Coach Extraordinaire & Civil Rights Leader
As a young man growing up on Ritchie Avenue, he was a talented baseball catcher. He left Takoma Park for a short stint with the Negro Baseball League before returning in 1937 to take a job as a custodian at the then all-white Montgomery Blair High School. He began coaching basketball at Blair on Saturdays and his first group included boys who were caught by police breaking into the school gym. Mr. Lee, as they called him, became their mentor.
Over the years he created a full-fledged athletic program of baseball, basketball and football. It encompassed generations of boys and girls, black and white. Mr. Lee's routine was to pick up children at their homes and pile them into his wide-body station wagon. In the era before seat belts, they crammed in, often 20 at a time, eager for another
The Boys and Girls Club that he founded was the first racially integrated one in Montgomery County. His baseball players likewise were pioneers in integration, enduring catcalls but winning the county league championship in their inaugural season. The first girl to participate in the league played on a Mr. Lee team. In her first game she hit a home run. Lee Jordan's aplomb and good humor as a trailblazer is acknowledged as a primary factor in the peaceful integration of Takoma Park schools in 1955 following the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision.
To recognize those efforts, the field at Takoma Park Middle School, where he later did custodial work, was named in his honor in 1981. He was inducted posthumously into the Montgomery County Human Rights Hall of Fame in 2006.
Support for this project was provided by Maryland Program Open Space, City of Takoma Park, Montgomery County Public Schools and Historic Takoma.
Erected 2014 by Maryland Program Open Space, City of Takoma Park, Montgomery County Public Schools and Historic Takoma.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African Americans Civil Rights • Education • Sports.
Location. 38° 59.187′ N, 77° 0.786′ W. Marker is in Takoma Park, Maryland, in Montgomery County. Marker can be reached from Piney Branch Road. Marker is in Lee Jordan Field just north of Takoma Park Middle School. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Takoma Park MD 20912, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Lee Jordan Field (here, next to this marker); Centennial Garden (approx. ¼ mile away); In Memory of Sgt. Christopher Thornton (approx. 0.4 miles away); Veterans Memorial (approx. 0.4 miles away); Sligo Creek Waterworks (approx. 0.4 miles away); "The Presidents Tree" (approx. half a mile away); Belle Ziegler Park (approx. half a mile away); Living in Takoma Park (approx. half a mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Takoma Park.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on July 10, 2014, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. This page has been viewed 591 times since then and 57 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on July 10, 2014, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.