Barbara Jordan

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Barbara Jordan

Barbara Charline Jordan (February 21, 1936 – January 17, 1996) was an American lawyer, educator and politician who was a leader in the Civil Rights Movement. A Democrat, she was the first African American elected to the Texas Senate after Reconstruction and the first Southern African-American woman elected to the United States House of Representatives. She was best known for her eloquent opening statement at the House Judiciary Committee hearings during the impeachment process against Richard Nixon, and as the first African-American as well as the first woman to deliver a keynote address at the 1976 Democratic National Convention. She received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, among numerous other honors. She was a member of the Peabody Awards Board of Jurors from 1978 to 1980. She was the first African-American woman to be buried in the Texas State Cemetery.

Quotes[edit]

  • Earlier today we heard the beginning of the Preamble to the Constitution of the United States. ‘We the people.’ It is a very eloquent beginning. But, when that document was completed on the seventeenth of September in 1787, I was not included in that ‘We, the people.’ I felt somehow for many years that George Washington and Alexander Hamilton just left me out by mistake. But, through the process of amendment, interpretation, and court decision, I have finally been included in ‘We, the people.’
    • Statement before the House Judiciary Committee considering impeachment of President Richard M. Nixon (25 July 1974). (See External links)
  • My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total. I am not going to sit here and be an idle spectator to the diminution, the subversion, the destruction of the Constitution.
    • Statement before the House Judiciary Committee considering impeachment of President Richard M. Nixon (25 July 1974). (See External links)
  • A spirit of harmony will survive in America only if each of us remembers that we share a common destiny; if each of us remembers, when bitterness and self-interest seem to prevail, that we share a common destiny.
    • Keynote address, Democratic National Convention, New York (12 July 1976). (see External links)
  • What people want is simple. They want an America as good as its promise.
    • Commencement Address, Harvard University (16 June 1977), as cited in Let me tell you what I've learned: Texas Wisewomen Speak, PJ Pierce, University of Texas Press (2010), p. 16
  • You need a core inside you—a core that directs everything you do. You confer with it for guidance. It is not negotiable.
    • Scott Williams, “Jordan Praises Stockman,” Daily Texan (23 November 1981), as cited in Let me tell you what I've learned: Texas Wisewomen Speak, PJ Pierce, University of Texas Press (2010), p. 17
  • This country can ill afford to continue to function using less than half of its human resources, less than half its kinetic energy, less than half its brain power.
    • Keynote address, Democratic National Convention (13 July 1992). (see External links)
  • Those who hold the public trust must adhere to the highest ethical standards there are. The job requires it, and the public must demand it.
    • Remarks at the University of Texas at Austin (22 February 1991), as cited in Let me tell you what I've learned: Texas Wisewomen Speak, PJ Pierce, University of Texas Press (2010), p. 17
  • There is no obstacle in the path of young people who are poor or members of minority groups that hard work and preparation cannot cure.
  • It was immigration that taught us, it does not matter where you came from, or who your parents were. What counts is who you are.
    • Speaking as chair of the U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform. Quoted by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) speaking before the U.S. House of Representatives “Tribute to the Late Hon. Barbara Jordan,” Congressional Record (24 January 1996), as cited in Let me tell you what I've learned: Texas Wisewomen Speak, PJ Pierce, University of Texas Press (2010), p. 17

External links[edit]

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