Barbara Jordan

The second Women’s History Month highlight is Barbara Jordan (1936-1996).

Jordan was a lawyer, educator, politician, and leader in the Civil Rights Movement. She was the first African American woman elected to the Texas state senate and first African American Texan in Congress. Jordan was also the first LGBTQ+ woman in Congress.

Jordan is known for her opening statement at the House Judiciary Committee hearings during the Richard Nixon impeachment. She was the first African American and first woman to deliver a keynote address at a Democratic National Convention. Jordan supported the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 which required banks to lend and make services to underserved poor and minority communities. She also worked to pass a state minimum wage law in Texas that covered farmers.

Jordan received many honors throughout her life but one of the more notable was being awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Clinton. She was also awarded the Spingarn Medal by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. When not serving on Congress, Jordan was a college professor and a private law attorney. Jordan lived a short life due to complications with multiple sclerosis, and we thank her for paving the way for women to serve in Congress and the work she did for those with low incomes!

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