Who is John Sunday?
THE SUNDAY OIL STORY
SUNDAY OIL is handcrafted in the old way. It is named for my maternal ancestral family, The Sundays of Pensacola, FL. It is my honor to cultivate our family energy of love, perseverance and connection with nature into this healing oil. My great-great-great grandfather, John Sunday (1838-1925), didn't "get tired”. Tap into that energy with this solar-infused healing oil that is guaranteed to relieve muscular aches and pain, allowing you to keep moving free!
WHO IS JOHN SUNDAY?
The story of John Sunday begins way back, like every story does. His, however, was shined a little light upon in time for me. My first real time living alone, I began to do my own ritual and spiritual work. Now “The Ancestors” were not some obscure, general concept. They were actually individuals with whom I wanted a relationship. I needed to know them, to work with them, learn from them and honor them with personal practice. This required that I do a little research.
I found the closest living thing to an ancestor that I could, beginning with my mother's side of the family. This person was my grandmother, Seraphine Ferguson, who was named after her aunt and great-grandmother, The Seraphine Sunday's. I was always interested in them, not only because they were my ancestors, but because I also share their name as my middle name. Our part of the story begins in Pensacola, FL.
I have always known that my family was a sort of matriarchy, and that our family property, culture and values went through the line of women. My grandmother had “lost” her property, and even seemed her connection with Pensacola, FL, at some point, although I had never really heard the full story. This inquiry with my grandmother led me to learn about John Sunday II, who was an incredible, dynamic person.
Born March 20, 1838 to mother Jinny Rosa and John Sunday I, a landowner and slave owner. He was born a slave.
Served as an apprentice to cabinet-maker Ambrose Vaughn before working in the local Navy Yard.
May 5, 1863- Enlisted in the U.S. Army and served in the Civil War, eventually rising to First Sergeant in 6th Corps de Afrique Infantry and 78th Regiment, United States Colored Infantry. Was one of the first African Americans to engage directly with the Confederacy during the longest siege in U.S. History: The Seige of Port Hudson. It's interesting to note that his half-brother, John Sunday II from the union of his father and first white wife, fought with the confederacy and was killed.
Met his wife, Seraphine (Landry) on tour in Louisiana.
1873, upon returning to Florida, served as the states second black legislator. He was removed from office when Gen. Edward Perry revoked a city charter over a technicality, and removed every elected official from office. He subsequently hand-picked and appointed new officials, including a wealthy railroad developer and a Confederate officer. Perry's moves were an assault to black development and leadership in the area.
Served 3 years as alderman during this period of reconstruction (1878-1881).
Organized and served as the post commander for the B.F. Stephenson Post of the union soldiers fraternal organization, Grand Army of the Republic. (The GAR served as an advocacy group for Civil War Veterans their families and also established Memorial Day as a holiday in 1868.)
1891: Donated property (in a collaboration with St. Katherine Drexel, founder of the historically black institution, Xavier University of Louisiana) to his sister, Mercedes Ruby Sunday for the establishment of St. Joseph's Church. St. Joseph's was the church home for blacks and creole people. It established schools, an orphanage and was the only place blacks and creoles they could receive medical care. (see photo below)
Established a construction firm that erected over 100 homes and structures in Pensacola, FL.
Constructed his Romana St. home near the Tanyard, a multiethnic area of the city, in 1901 at the age of 63. This home was a highly significant historical landmark that was recently demolished in 2016. (See more information below).
In 1905 was reported to be the wealthiest African American in the United States of America, with a net worth of over $125,000 (equivalent to $3 million today)
When Jim Crow laws forced black businesses out of downtown, John Sunday was a pivotal figure in the development of the Belmont-Devilliers area of Pensacola- the hub of black commerce.
John Sunday died January 7, 1925.
No streets, parks, buildings or significant monuments are named for John Sunday II.
SUNDAY HOUSE to GIRARD PLACE
Formerly located at 302 W. Romana Street in Pensacola, FL. , the Sunday home was a standing testament to the legacy of a great man. Unfortunately, and for many reasons, the Sunday properties have been “lost” over time. His property has been owned for years, but has not been utilized or maintained. In 2016, the property was bought and demolished in a very familiar scenario.
Categorizing the historic property as “blighted”, developers at Segen Ventures took to court in order to obtain the Sunday property. Segen decided to name the facility after Stephen Girard, an avid racist with a biological profile strikely contrasting that of John Sunday. Known as the wealthiest man in America (1831), Girard died childless, and is remembered as a generous philanthropist who established orphanages, schools, hospitals and other institutions in Philadelphia, PA-FOR WHITES ONLY. Some of these institutions remained that way until 1968. Stephen Girard has no connection to Pensacola, whatsoever. It would be comical, if it weren't tragic, that both of these characters are viewed as civil servants and models of success. Where John Sunday stood to unite and empower, Stephen Girard stood to divide, disenfranchise and weaken. Anyone who is aware of the political, spiritual and occult significance of Philadelphia in American history can feel what an affront this is to the power of non-white people in America. Anyone who has awareness of the patterns of marginalization and gentrification of people of color and their neighborhoods in this country can see what is happening here. Girard Place is a reminder that white supremacy is not obscure or elusive, its sentiments are not exclusive to the past. White supremacy is here and now.
The “American Dream” is about more than just the attainment of wealth and power-or at least it should be. It is a reflection of the higher “dream” of this illusion called Life. We all have the right to live, and to have some space on this Earth. It is my belief that all people born in our tens of thousands of years of civilization have just wanted one thing: to live and to be happy. Those who work to preserve that space for ALL living people are the ones who we should honor and respect. What has happened on Romana Street is a testament to our toxic, shallow culture. Some people pursue money “by any means necessary” like others pursue life and freedom. Let's Choose Life!
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