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Barbara Jordan’s 1976 Keynote Address (you have to endure a brief commercial first)

Barbara Jordan was the first African American to serve in the Texas State Senate after Reconstruction and the first African American woman from a Southern state elected to the United States Congress.  First elected to the Texas Senate in 1967, she went on to spend 6 years in the U.S House starting in 1973.  Jordan was known for her tenacity and profound oratory skills, earning her the privilege of delivering the keynote address at the 1976 Democratic National Convention.

Although Jordan was barred by segregation from attending the University of Texas, the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas now has an university chair named for Jordan.

Jordan received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Beginning in 1973 Jordan suffered from multiple sclerosis and eventually had to use a wheelchair. After her death in 1996, media sources reported that Jordan had a loving, romantic relationship of over 20 years with a woman named Nancy Earl.  Many have speculated that Jordan kept her sexual orientation a secret in order to maintain her position as a catalyst for change.

Take a few moments to watch Jordan’s 1976 Keynote address posted above.

–Post by William Chinburg, Tulane University Student


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