Barbara Jordan (1936-1996) (D-TX) - Congresswoman And Judiciary Committee Member

Congresswoman Barbara Jordan

" '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. It is reason and not passion which must guide our deliberations, guide our debate, and guide our decision.'

Congresswoman Barbara Jordan (D-TX) speaking during the House Judiciary Committee impeachment hearings on President Richard Nixon, July 25, 1974.

Barbara Jordan is recognized as one of the most eloquent, powerful speakers and a spirited advocate for democratic principles and humanitarian ideals in the long history of the U.S. House of Representatives.  Among the first African American women elected to Congress and the first black Congresswoman ever from Texas, Jordan became a forceful presence whose influence extended well beyond our nation's capital.  Her fame and prestige rose as people throughout the nation heard her speak for the first time during the nationally televised impeachment investigation of President Richard Nixon in 1974.

'People always want you to be born where you are.  They want you to have leaped from the womb a public figure.  It just doesn't go that way.  I am the composite of my experience and all the people who had something to do with it.' - Barbara Jordan

Barbara Charline Jordan was born in Houston, Texas, on February 21, 1936.  She was one of three daughters of Benjamin M. Jordan and Arlyne Patten Jordan. A graduate of Tuskegee Institute, Benjamin Jordan became the pastor of Good Hope Missionary Baptist Church. Arlyne Jordan was an accomplished public speaker. Barbara Jordan attended Houston public schools during the era of Jim Crow segregation.  She graduated from the all black Phyllis Wheatley High School in 1952.  She obtained her B.A. from Texas Southern University in 1956 and her law degree from Boston University in 1959.  She then moved back to Houston and began her law practice in 1960.'