Barbara Jordan

Houston-born Barbara Jordan was a lawyer, politician, scholar, and civil rights advocate. In 1964, she became the first African American women to be elected to the Texas Senate and the first African American state senator since Reconstruction ended in 1883. As a state senator, Jordan worked tirelessly to establish a minimum wage, antidiscrimination in business, and a Fair Employment Practices Commision.

She ran for Congress and won by 81%, making her the first African American elected to this position from the South in 1900s. Barbara Jordan played an instrumental role in the Nixon Impeachment trial, as she gave the opening remarks and was a key member of the Judiciary Committee. Following Nixon’s resignation, Jordan continued advocating and sponsoring legislation for civil and human rights. 

After Jordan left Congress, she became a UT Austin professor in National Policy. She continued to stay active in the Democratic Party as she was a keynote speaker in the 1992 Democratic National Convention (DNC). Barbara Jordan’s legacy lives on with the legislation she pushed for and the impact she made on her students and fellow politicians. She passed away on January 17, 1996, and was the first African American woman to be buried in the Texas State Cemetery.