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Fri, 02.21.1936

Barbara Jordan, politician & educator

*Barbara Jordan was born on this date in 1936. She was a Black politician, educator and member of the United States House of Representatives.

Barbara Charlene Jordan was from Houston, TX. She earned a bachelor's degree from Texas Southern University and a law degree from Boston University. In 1966, she became the first Black woman to win a seat in the Texas Senate.  She authored the state's first successful minimum wage bill and pushed for civil rights legislation. In 1972, she was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. She took a seat on the Judiciary Committee, where she earned national attention for her eloquent speech in favor of impeaching President Nixon during the Watergate affair.

She also delivered the keynote address at the 1976 Democratic Convention. In 1978, Jordan left the House to teach public policy at the University of Texas at Austin. Between then and 1996, the year of her death, she continued to devote herself to public service, acting as keynote speaker at the Democratic National Convention in 1992, and subsequently as chair of the U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform.

The many awards Barbara Jordan received include the Eleanor Roosevelt Humanities Award and more than 20 honorary doctorates from leading U.S. universities.  A lesbian and bisexual woman, she died on January 17, 1996.

Reference:
Black Americans In Congress 1870-1989.
Bruce A. Ragsdale & Joel D. Treese
U.S. Government Printing Office
Raymond W. Smock, historian and director 1990
E185.96.R25

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