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Our Team

Mrs. Jessie Perkins (Ma Perkins)

After Dr. Ballard moved his family to California in the early 1950’s,  the property was acquired by Jesse Perkins and served as the  “hotspot for civic meetings and social events” in the 1950’s, 60’s, and well into the 70’s.

Mrs. Perkins was an African-American woman of color and entrepreneur who made a significant economic and cultural impact well before her time.

As a result of segregation in Birmingham, which made many places off limits to the “Negro” population, the Ballard House became a  significant and pivotal gathering and meeting place for the  community of color, and a central backdrop for the chartering and meeting of numerous African‐American  clubs and community organizations.

Before the opening of the A.G. Gaston Motel, the Ballard House was considered one of few destinations for boarding visiting Black  entertainers and musicians, as well as for hosting receptions, teas, and holiday parties in the Black community.