Black History Month: Barbara Jordan

By Cynthia Jacobi, Central Oregon Coast NOW member

My Heroine, Barbara Jordan

Barbara Jordan

The vibrations from her voice and her message thrilled every heart in the room. Barbara Jordan spoke.   Everyone listened. She had a presence which commanded attention. I was there when she gave an address in Jackson, TN, in 1977.   She had been chosen to be the keynote speaker for the 1976 Democratic Convention. Part of her speech included a quote from Abraham Lincoln: “As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master.”

Her poor health from Multiple Sclerosis and leukemia cut short the life of an outstanding woman. Pres. Bill Clinton planned to nominate her for the Supreme Court until her health precluded it. She had to keep quiet her relationship with Nancy Earl, her life partner of 30 years.

From humble beginnings, she became the first African-American elected to the Texas State Senate post- Reconstruction, and the first southern African-American female to the U.S. House of Representatives. I can only imagine the greater accomplishments she could have added to an already impressive list.

Barbara Jordan

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