JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – The idea to restore the Scott Ford Houses in the Farish Street District in Jackson started several years ago. It was just this past week that some announcements were made that proves “patience pays.”

A small crowd gathers in the front yard of one of the two houses on this property in the 100 block of Cohea Street in Jackson. Friends of the property, members of the Board of Directors preserving and restoring the property and a representative of the architectural firm recently named to begin that restoration here.

“Our first phase is going to be kind of shore them up, repair some damage that’s been done, roof leaks, stuff like that. Prepare for the next phase of the restoration, which we hope will come soon,” said Lawson Newman with WFT Architects.

What’s so special about these houses? Well, they have an interesting history of enterprise and entrepreneurship among Black women in the late 1800s and the first half of the 1900s. Beyond that, women in the Scott Ford family were midwives. Midwives and their service, particular to Black families, was invaluable.

Dr. Alferdtreen Harrison is the biggest cheerleader behind this project. She has the patience for the job. They applied for grants to start this project way back in 2019.

“We thought we would just be on the way. We’re just beginning to use some of that money,” said Harrison.

Friends in the Legislature who caught the vision for saving the houses and the story support the project, like Representatives Alyce Clark and Bo Brown.

“It’s important to me because I know about the story that midwives have had. I know the lives they have been able to save down through the years,” said Clark.

“I’m part of the history of midwives, believe it or not. I intrigued Dr. Harrison when I told her I was delivered by a midwife,” said Brown.

Although patience has paid off, and we’ll start seeing preservation work going on in the next few weeks and months, this is just phase one. That means we’ll be seeing other chapters of this story unfold. We just have to be patient.

There will be an exhibit about midwives and the Scott Ford House project opening later this summer at the Smith Robertson Museum.