Lena Lowe Jordan was a humanitarian and a true example of altruism. A pioneer in the medical profession, she was a nurse, administrator and educator who provided healthcare to black families who were denied access to quality care.
Jordan and nine others were honored for their efforts toward equality in healthcare in Little Rock on Friday, October 24, 2014. Learn more at the 2014 Arkansas Civil Rights Heritage Trail Commemoration.
Lena Lowe Jordan was born in 1884 to Hollin and Martha Lowe in the state of Georgia. She trained as a nurse at the Charity Hospital in Savannah before coming to Little Rock where she continued her education and graduated from the United Friends Hospital nursing program. In 1920, she became the second wife of Peach H. Jordan Jr. who was the grand master for Mosaic Templars of America, a fraternal organization founded in Little Rock to provide services such as burial and life insurance to the black community. The couple had one daughter.
By 1927, Jordan was the head nurse at Mosaic State Templars Hospital, a medical institution founded by members of Mosaic Templars. In the 1930s, she founded a hospital initially designed to meet the needs of black children with disabilities. It was located at 1500 Pulaski Street in Little Rock and was known as the Arkansas Home and Hospital for Crippled Negro Children.
The institution was later named the Lena Jordan Hospital and began to offer general care to black patients who were not served by all-white medical institutions and facilities. Many of the patients had no means to pay for services, and both black and white physicians volunteered their services. Jordan even mortgaged her own home to keep the small fledgling hospital afloat.
Jordan also started a training program for young women who wanted to become nurses. She recruited black women and trained them in practical nursing while they attended school. She was able to inspire so many in the healthcare field by operating on a single principle, “helping others to help themselves.”
Jordan was honored for her dedication to her profession on May 12, 1950, during an observance of National Hospital Day at the hospital she established. She passed away a few months after the celebration on September 30, 1950.
Posted In: Honorees