Due to technical difficulties, some of the video links in this website no longer work. We are uncertain as to when or if we will be able to correct these problems. However, the video clips constitute only a small portion of the material in this website. Moreover, the full transcripts of the oral histories from which the video clips were drawn can be found by following the "Resources" link below.

To Bear Fruit For Our Race College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences
Barbra Jordan

Barbara Jordan, c. 1975. (Courtesy of Robert J. Terry Library, Special Collections, Texas Southern University)

Barbara Jordan

Barbara Jordan was born February 21, 1936 in Houston’s Fifth Ward. She was delivered by the city’s first black female physician, Dr. Thelma Patten Law. Barbara Jordan pioneered the way for African Americans and women in professional fields. She graduated from Texas Southern University in 1956, and then attended Boston University Law School, where she became the first African-American graduate in 1959.

Upon returning home in 1960, she became only the third African American licensed to practice law in the state of Texas. After two unsuccessful campaigns for the state House of Representatives, Ms. Jordan became the first African-American woman elected to the Texas State Senate. Ms. Jordan served there from1967 to 1972, and during this time, frequently consulted with President Lyndon B. Johnson about civil rights legislation.

In 1972, Jordan won the election for the newly drawn 18th Congressional District, becoming the first African-American woman to serve in the U.S. Congress and the first African-American representative from the South since Reconstruction. She landed a seat on the House Judiciary Committee with the help of former President Johnson.

Two years later, during the tumultuous impeachment hearings for President Richard Nixon, Jordan received national attention when she calmly reinforced the central tenet of American law and government: “My faith in the Constitution is whole, it is complete, it is total, and I am not going to sit here and be an idle spectator to the diminution, the subversion, the destruction of the Constitution”

In 1973, Ms. Jordan began to suffer from multiple sclerosis, a chronic autoimmune disease affecting movement, sensation, and bodily functions. In 1979, she left Congress for a professorship at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas in Austin. She died in 1996.

For more information on Barbara Jordan you can visit the following websites:

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