38 Facts About Barbara Jordan


Barbara Charline Jordan was an African American lawyer, educator, and politician.


Barbara Jordan received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, among numerous other honors.


Barbara Jordan was the first African-American woman to be buried in the Texas State Cemetery.


Barbara Jordan is known for her work as chair of the US Commission on Immigration Reform.


Barbara Charline Jordan was born in Houston, Texas's Fifth Ward.


Barbara Jordan's mother was Arlyne Patten Jordan, a teacher in the church, and her father was Benjamin Jordan, a Baptist preacher.


Barbara Jordan was the youngest of three children, with siblings Rose Mary Jordan McGowan and Bennie Jordan Creswell.

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Barbara Jordan graduated from Phillis Wheatley High School in 1952 with honors.


At Texas Southern University, Barbara Jordan was a national champion debater, defeating opponents from Yale and Brown, and tying Harvard University.


Barbara Jordan attended Boston University School of Law, graduating in 1959.


Barbara Jordan taught political science at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama for a year.


Barbara Jordan campaigned unsuccessfully in 1962 and 1964 for the Texas House of Representatives.


Barbara Jordan won a seat in the Texas Senate in 1966, becoming the first African-American state senator in Texas since 1883 and the first black woman to serve in that body.


Barbara Jordan was the first African-American woman to serve as president pro tempore of the state senate and served one day, June 10,1972, as acting governor of Texas.


Barbara Jordan was the first African-American woman to serve as governor of a state.


Barbara Jordan received extensive support from former President Lyndon B Johnson, who helped her secure a position on the House Judiciary Committee.


In 1976, Barbara Jordan, mentioned as a possible running mate to Jimmy Carter of Georgia, became instead the first African-American woman to deliver a keynote address at the Democratic National Convention.


In November 1977, Barbara Jordan spoke at the 1977 National Women's Conference.


Barbara Jordan was again a keynote speaker at the Democratic National Convention in 1992.


Barbara Jordan was honored many times and was given over 20 honorary degrees from institutions across the country, including Harvard and Princeton, and was elected to the Texas and National Women's Halls of Fame.


On July 25,1974, Barbara Jordan delivered a 15-minute televised speech in front of the members of the US House Judiciary Committee.


Barbara Jordan presented an opening speech during the hearings that were part of the impeachment process against Richard Nixon.


Barbara Jordan defended the checks and balances system, which was set in place to inhibit any politician from abusing their power.


Barbara Jordan simply stated facts that proved Nixon to be untrustworthy and heavily involved in illegal situations, and quoted the drafters of the Constitution to argue that actions like Nixon's during the scandal corresponded with their understanding of impeachable offenses.


Barbara Jordan protested that the Watergate scandal will forever ruin the trust American citizens have for their government.

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Barbara Jordan supported the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977, legislation that required banks to lend and make services available to underserved poor and minority communities.


Barbara Jordan supported the renewal of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and expansion of that act to cover language minorities; this extended protection to Hispanics in Texas and was opposed by Texas Governor Dolph Briscoe and Secretary of State Mark White.


Barbara Jordan authored an act that ended federal authorization of price fixing by manufacturers.


Barbara Jordan was a proponent of the Equal Rights Amendment and issued a statement in support of extending the deadline in 1979.


From 1994 until her death, Barbara Jordan chaired the US Commission on Immigration Reform.


The recommendations made by the US Commission on Immigration Reform under Barbara Jordan's leadership are frequently cited by American immigration restrictionists.


On July 31,1988, Barbara Jordan nearly drowned in her backyard swimming pool while doing physical therapy, but she was saved by Earl, who found her floating in the pool and revived her.


Barbara Jordan died at the age of 59 of complications from pneumonia on January 17,1996, in Austin, Texas.


Barbara Jordan was the first African American to receive this honor, and previously advocated African Americans to be buried in the state cemetery when she served in the Texas State Senate.


Barbara Jordan was a member of the Peabody Awards Board of Jurors from 1978 to 1980.


On March 27,2000, a play based on Barbara Jordan's life premiered at the Victory Garden Theater in Chicago, Illinois.


Titled, Voice of Good Hope, Kristine Thatcher's biographical evocation of Barbara Jordan's life played in theaters from San Francisco to New York.


In 2012, Barbara Jordan was inducted into the Legacy Walk, an outdoor public display which celebrates LGBT history and people.