A new historical marker sign has been placed in front of the Jackson Rooming House in downtown Tampa, compliments of Jason and John Accardi, the brothers who own and operate Seven One Seven Parking Enterprises.
“This is an incredibly gracious gesture that they absolutely did not have to make,” said a City of Tampa official who spoke under the condition of anonymity from deep within the Accardi brothers pockets. “Let’s face it, nobody is ever going to fix the place. So what’s the next best thing? A nice sign that we can look at while we pay lip service to what a shame it is when it eventually falls down, hopefully some time this summer.”
The Jackson House was Tampa’s only 24-room boarding house for African Americans during segregation. Owned by Moses and Sarah Jackson who moved to Tampa in the 1800’s, they built this home in 1901 and provided the only lodging for Blacks in the 1940’s. Tenants included Count Basie, Cab Calloway, James Brown, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Nat “King” Cole and Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. among many others. Vacant since 1989, the property has fallen into significant disrepair and will cost several million dollars to restore.
“Yeah, right,” said the city official, laughing.
The Accardis insisted on writing the verbiage on the new sign and had it made at their own expense and to their specifications because they know a guy.