Barbara Jordan

Lived:February 21, 1936—January 17, 1996 (aged 59)
Career:U.S. House of Representatives, 1973-1979
Texas Senate, 1967-1973
Education:B.A., Texas Southern University
J.D., Boston University

Barbara Jordan represented the 18th District of Texas in the United States House of Representatives from 1973 to 1979. Jordan is remembered for her eloquent opening remarks on the impeachment against President Richard Nixon for crimes associated with the Watergate scandal in 1974, as well as being the first woman and first African American keynote speaker at a Democratic National Convention in 1976.

Jordan was born on February 21, 1936 in Houston, Texas. She completed a Bachelor of Arts at Texas Southern University in 1956 and graduated with a law degree from Boston University in 1959. Following graduation, Jordan practiced law and worked as an administration assistant to a county judge. In 1960, she aided with President John F. Kennedy's campaign.

Jordan served as a Texas senator from 1967 to 1973, becoming the first African America state senator in the United States since 1883 and the first African American woman elected to that body. In March 1972, she became the first African American woman in America to preside over a legislative body; and, in June 1972, she became the first African America chief executive in the nation. While in office, Jordan focused on local issues.

For more information on Jordan's policy subject areas, committee appointments and sponsored/co-sponsored legislation during her time in the U.S. House of Representatives, please visit her profile on

Following her time in the United States Congress, Jordan was appointed the Lyndon Johnson Chair in National Policy at LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas in Austin, where she taught until the early 1990s. In 1990, she was named to the National Women's Hall of Fame in Seneca, New York.

On January 17, 1996, Jordan passed away in Austin, Texas, from pneumonia that was a complication of leukemia.