2025 Honoree – Barbara Jordan


Barbara Jordan was the former United States Representative from Texas.  She was born in 1936 in Houston, Texas and her early childhood was centered around the church, which was a family affair.  Her mother was a teacher in the church and her father was a Baptist minister.

Ms. Jordan had many skills being a lawyer, educator and politician.  She accomplished many “firsts” including – first African American elected to the Texas Senate after Reconstruction, the first Southern African-American woman elected to the United States House of Representatives, and one of the first two African Americans elected to the U.S. House from the former Confederacy since 1901.    In 1976, she also became the first African-American and woman to deliver the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention.

Ms. Jordan ran for the Texas House of representatives in 1962 and 1964 but was unsuccessful.  In 1966, Ms. Jordan successfully won the seat in the Texas House of Representatives, thus becoming the first African-American state senator in Texas since 1883 and the first African-American woman to ever serve in the Texas House.  She was re-elected to the Texas House in 1968 and service until 1972.  Fun fact:  Ms. Jordan serviced one day, Jun 10, 1972, as the acting governor of Texas.  In her Texas Politics, Ms. Jordan sponsored or co-sponsored approximately 70 bills.

In 1972, Ms. Jordan was elected to the U.S. House of Representative, becoming the first woman of any color elected in her own right to represent Texas in the House.

Ms. Jordan retired from political life in 1979 and acted as an adjunct profession at the University of Texas at Austin Lyndon B Johnson School of Public Affairs teaching ethics.

Ms. Jordan died on January 17, 1996 at the young age of 59.  Cause of death was listed as pneumonia and leukemia.  She is interred at the Texas State Cemetery and is the first African-American to receive this honor.

Ms. Jordan in her lifetime received multiple honors – many of which:

  • Presidential Medal of Freedom
  • Spingarn Medal from the NAACP
  • Over 20 honorary degrees from various institution – including Harvard and Princeton
  • Elected to the Texas and National Women’s Hall of Fame
  • Several schools are named after Barbar Jordan
  • Main terminal of Austin-Bergstrom Airport is named after Barbara Jordan
Statue of Barbara Jordan at the Austin-Bergstrom Main Terminal

Source – Wikipedia