Manda Ann Convalescent Home, Incorporated, was an African American-owned and operated post-acute nursing and convalescent home founded in 1970 by Jaromey “Jay” Roy Roberts, Sr., in Houston, Texas. He was inspired by a fifteen-year dream to modernize and improve healthcare facilities for Blacks to meet the needs of the aging and disabled with chronic medical needs. He named the new family-owned business in honor of his deceased mother, Manda Ann Blackshear Roberts. The nursing and convalescent home was a modern 33,838-square-foot custom-designed new facility. Roberts selected African American architect W. Norris Moseley to interpret the architectural design of his vision. He spent many hours studying, researching, surveying, and making long-range plans for the much-needed community project, during the time when African Americans were denied admission to White facilities. He obtained financing for the construction of the facility through the Federal Housing Administration, (FHA).
The 100-bed residential long-term care facility was located at 7441 Coffee Street in the African American neighborhood of East Sunnyside Court in Houston and officially opened on November 17, 1971. One of Roberts’s businesses, Jay’s Mortgage and Finance Company, Inc., owned 55 percent of the shares, and 45 percent of the shares were owned by his wife, Mary Louise Brown Roberts. Jaromey Roberts, Sr., served as chairman of the board of directors, and his wife Mary served as president of the board from 1970 to 1988.
The spacious modern facility was designed in the shape of an “H” with north and south residence corridors encircling a large outdoor garden courtyard. The building had a wide range of features to serve patients’ needs, including private suites, semi-private rooms, a large dining room, large commercial kitchen, examining room, and nurses’ station as well as amenities such as a barber/beauty shop, laundry room, social activity room, and television room.
The nursing home was licensed by the Texas Department of Health and Human Services Commission and certified to provide twenty-four-hour healthcare services, including comprehensive nursing care, meals, social activities, social services, housekeeping, laundry, and administrative assistance. The home provided its residents many diverse activities throughout the year and encouraged community engagement and visits. Some of the well-known community activities were the Manda Ann Volunteers’ Annual Harvest Tea and Fashion Show, the Intergenerational Heart to Heart Senior Prom, the late State Representative Al Edwards’s Annual Easter Egg event, holiday celebrations, concerts, and regular church services.
Manda Ann, a significant African American employer in Houston, employed seventy full-time people throughout the years; many of its staff worked there for twenty to twenty-five years. The business also provided contract Medicaid and Medicare ancillary services in partnership with independent providers and offered services from a wide range of medical personnel, including attending physicians, a dietician, pharmacists, a podiatrist, physical therapists, psychiatrists, and others.
Jaromey Roberts, Sr., served as the licensed nursing home administrator for twelve years. He often filled in other capacities as needed, including as a cook, custodian, and driver who transported patients to hospitals and doctors’ offices. Mary Louise Brown Roberts, an elementary school teacher by training, was also a licensed nursing home administrator and focused on consulting on social activities, social services, programming, celebrations, and community partnerships. She founded the Manda Ann Volunteers, a non-profit auxiliary and one of the largest organized volunteer groups of any nursing home in Texas. The volunteers donated items and services to enhance the residents’ comfort. One of their most significant donations was purchasing all the professional equipment and supplies for the barber/ beauty shop and providing services free of charge through volunteers from various churches. Josie Bell, a public school librarian, served as president of the auxiliary and Mozell Turner, president of the Lilly Grove Missionary Baptist Church, served as vice president.
Manda Ann’s residents were regularly visited by more than fifty churches in the Houston area, sororities, fraternities, public and private schools, universities, social and charity clubs, garden clubs, beauty and barber schools, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and other civic organizations. Eagle Scout candidate, Timothy D. Bryant, II, won one of Mayor Bill White’s Proud Partner Awards for his beautification project for Manda Ann Convalescent Home’s courtyard. Famous people who visited Manda Ann Convalescent Home included First Lady of Texas, Linda Gale White, wife of Governor Mark White; Congressman George “Mickey” Leland; Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee; Congressman Al Green; Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis; State Representative Al Edwards; gospel music artist Henry “Hanq” Neal; former Texas AARP president Charlene James, musician Conrad O. Johnson; and jazz guitarist Joe Carmouche.
Beginning in 1982 the board of directors began to strategize for business expansion. The corporation purchased 3.75 acres at 12600 Cullen Boulevard in Houston to build a new 120-bed nursing home, Manda Ann–Cullen Convalescent Home. Roberts and his family surveyed community residents, physicians, community leaders, churches, civic clubs, and elected officials to conduct a demographic needs assessment for a new nursing home in the southeast Houston community. Architectural plans were developed by architect Norris Moseley. The project was approved by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and they also sought funding through tax free municipal bonds, but bond financing was not approved. After delayed attempts to build the second facility, the board focused on acquisitions. On October 1, 1985, Manda Ann Convalescent Home expanded its operations by acquiring an existing nursing home located in north Houston at 730 West 23rd Street. They operated the 116-resident-capacity facility under the name Manda Ann/Watkins Convalescent Home. Manda Ann operated and managed this facility from 1985 to 1992 and expanded its total resident care capacity to 216 residents and 160 total jobs in the Houston community.
Roberts’s daughter, Jarmese Roberts Morris, served as president of Manda Ann Convalescent Home, Inc., from 1985 to 1988. Previously, she had served as secretary and vice president. To assist in leading the family business, she became involved in several statewide healthcare organizations and was the second African American elected to the Texas Health Care Association board of directors. She received appointments to the Texas Statewide Health Coordinating Council and the Texas Board of Licensure for Nursing Home Administrators. She served the Manda Ann family of companies as a licensed nursing home administrator for more than thirty years and as a board member.
In 1987 Manda Ann’s sister company Lalla Investments, Inc., purchased a 120-bed nursing home, doing business as Lalla Convalescent Center, in Austin, Texas. This facility served the East Austin community for ten years, from 1987 to 1997. With this acquisition, the company’s three locations represented a total patient bed capacity of 336 beds and provided 220 jobs in underserved communities during this time period.
Roberts’s son, Jaromey Roberts II, served as president of Manda Ann Convalescent Home and Lalla Convalescent Center from 1988 to 2014. Manda Ann Convalescent Home closed October 24, 2014. It was the last African American-owned and operated nursing home in Houston and one of the last in Texas. Manda Ann’s forty-three-year history in serving underserved communities created a historical legacy of service and African American entrepreneurship.
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Houston Defender, October 2–8, 1988. Houston Forward Times, October 25, 1980. W. Norris Moseley Interview, Moseley Associates, Inc., Interview by Jarmese Roberts Morris, Houston, Texas. Texas Secretary of State, Corporations Section, File No. 27707300—Manda Ann Convalescent Home, Incorporated, 1970. Texas Secretary of State, Manda Ann Convalescent Home, Inc., State ID # 27707300.
Health and Medicine
Homes and Orphanages
Texas Post World War II
Texas in the 21st Century
Upper Gulf Coast
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Jarmese Lala Roberts Morris,
“Manda Ann Convalescent Home, Incorporated,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed June 28, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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