|Birth Day:||February 21, 1936|
|Death Date:||Jan 17, 1996 (age 59)|
|Birth Place:||Houston, United States|
As per our current Database, Barbara Jordan died on Jan 17, 1996 (age 59).
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She spent a year at the Tuskegee Institute teaching Political Science.
Barbara Charline Jordan was born in Houston, Texas's Fifth Ward. Jordan's childhood was centered on church life. Her mother was Arlyne Patten Jordan, a teacher in the church, and her father was Benjamin Jordan, a Baptist preacher. Barbara Jordan was the youngest of three children, with siblings Rose Mary Jordan McGowan and Bennie Jordan Creswell (1933–2000). Jordan attended Roberson Elementary School. She graduated from Phillis Wheatley High School in 1952 with honors.
Jordan credited a speech she heard in her high school years by Edith S. Sampson with inspiring her to become an attorney. Because of segregation, she could not attend The University of Texas at Austin and instead chose Texas Southern University, an historically-black institution, majoring in political science and history. At Texas Southern University, Jordan was a national champion debater, defeating opponents from Yale, and Brown and tying Harvard University. She graduated magna cum laude in 1956. At Texas Southern University, she pledged Delta Gamma chapter of Delta Sigma Theta sorority. She attended Boston University School of Law, graduating in 1959.
Jordan taught political science at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama for a year. In 1960, she returned to Houston, and started a private law practice.
Jordan campaigned unsuccessfully in 1962 and 1964 for the Texas House of Representatives. She won a seat in the Texas Senate in 1966, becoming the first African-American state senator since 1883 and the first black woman to serve in that body. Re-elected to a full term in the Texas Senate in 1968, she served until 1972. She was the first African-American female to serve as president pro tem of the state senate and served one day, June 10, 1972, as acting governor of Texas. To date, Jordan is the only African-American woman to serve as governor of a state (excluding lieutenant governors). During her time in the Texas Legislature, Jordan sponsored or cosponsored some 70 bills.
In 1972, she was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, the first woman elected in her own right to represent Texas in the House. She received extensive support from former President Lyndon B. Johnson, who helped her secure a position on the House Judiciary Committee. In 1974, she made an influential televised speech before the House Judiciary Committee supporting the impeachment of President Richard Nixon, Johnson's successor as president. In 1975, she was appointed by Carl Albert, then Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, to the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee.
Jordan's companion of approximately twenty years was Nancy Earl, an educational psychologist, whom she met on a camping trip in the late 1960s. Earl was an occasional speechwriter for Jordan, and later was a caregiver when Jordan began to suffer from multiple sclerosis in 1973. Considerable speculation exists as to Jordan's sexuality and the nature of her and Earl's relationship, something that neither Jordan nor Earl is known to have addressed, recorded or shared with others to date.
On July 25, 1974, Jordan delivered a 15-minute televised speech in front of the members of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee. She presented an opening speech during the hearings that were part of the impeachment process against Richard Nixon. This speech is thought to be one of the greatest speeches of the 20th-century American history. Throughout her speech, Jordan strongly stood by the Constitution of the United States. She defended the checks and balances system, which was set in place to inhibit any politician from abusing their power. Jordan never flat out said that she wanted Nixon impeached, but rather subtly and cleverly implied her thoughts. She simply stated facts that proved Nixon to be untrustworthy and heavily involved in illegal situations, and quoted the drafters of the Constitution to argue that actions like Nixon's during the scandal corresponded with their understanding of impeachable offenses. She protested that the Watergate scandal will forever ruin the trust American citizens have for their government. This powerful and influential statement earned Jordan national praise for her rhetoric, morals, and wisdom.
Her 1974 statement on the articles of impeachment (regarding President Richard Nixon) was listed as #13 in American Rhetoric's Top 100 Speeches of the 20th Century (listed by rank).
In 1976, Jordan, mentioned as a possible running mate to Jimmy Carter of Georgia, became instead the first African-American woman to deliver a keynote address at the Democratic National Convention. Despite not being a candidate, Jordan received one delegate vote (0.03%) for president at the Convention.
Her 1976 Democratic National Convention keynote address, the first major convention keynote speech ever by a woman and the first by an African American, was listed as #5 in American Rhetoric's Top 100 Speeches of the 20th Century (listed by rank).
Jordan retired from politics in 1979 and became an adjunct professor teaching ethics at the University of Texas at Austin Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs. She was again a keynote speaker at the Democratic National Convention in 1992.
On July 31, 1988, Jordan nearly drowned in her backyard swimming pool while doing physical therapy, but she was saved by Earl, who found her floating in the pool and revived her.
In 1994, Clinton awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom and The NAACP presented her with the Spingarn Medal. She was honored many times and was given over 20 honorary degrees from institutions across the country, including Harvard and Princeton, and was elected to the Texas and National Women's Halls of Fame.
From 1994 until her death, Jordan chaired the U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform. The commission recommended that total immigration be cut by one-third to approximately 550,000 per year. The commission supported increasing enforcement against undocumented migrants and their employers, eliminating visa preferences for siblings and adult children of U.S. citizens, and ending unskilled immigration except for refugees and nuclear families. The commission's report to Congress said that it was "a right and responsibility of a democratic society to manage immigration so that it serves the national interest", concluded that "legal immigration has strengthened and can continue to strengthen this country" and "decrie[d] hostility and discrimination against immigrants as antithetical to the traditions and interests of the country." The commission recommended that the United States reduce the number of refugees admitted annually to a floor of 50,000 (this level would be lifted during emergencies).
Jordan died at the age of 59 of complications from pneumonia on January 17, 1996, in Austin, Texas.
In 2000, the Jordan/Rustin Coalition (JRC) was created in Jordan's honor. The organization mobilized gay and lesbian African Americans to aid in the passage of marriage equality in the state of California. Along with Bayard Rustin, a civil rights leader and close confidante of Martin Luther King, Jr., Barbara Jordan is remembered for her advocacy of progressive politics. According to its website, "the mission [of the JRC] is to empower Black same-gender loving, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals and families in Greater Los Angeles, to promote equal marriage rights and to advocate for fair treatment of everyone without regard to race, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression."
On March 27, 2000, a play based on Jordan's life premiered at the Victory Garden Theater in Chicago, Illinois. Titled, "Voice of Good Hope", Kristine Thatcher's biographical evocation of Jordan's life played in theaters from San Francisco to New York.
On April 24, 2009, a statue of Barbara Jordan was unveiled at the University of Texas at Austin, where Jordan taught at the time of her death. The Barbara Jordan statue campaign was paid for by a student fee increase approved by the University of Texas Board of Regents. The effort was originally spearheaded by the 2002–2003 Tappee class of the Texas Orange Jackets, the "oldest women's organization at the University" (of Texas at Austin).
In 2011, actor/playwright Jade Esteban Estrada portrayed Jordan in the solo musical comedy ICONS: The Lesbian and Gay History of the World, Vol. 5 which includes the song "Nancy's Eyes" sung by the character of Jordan with music and lyrics by Estrada.
In 2011, the Barbara Jordan Forever Stamp was issued. It is the 34th stamp in the Black Heritage series of U.S. stamps.
In 2012, Jordan was inducted into the Legacy Walk, an outdoor public display which celebrates LGBT history and people.
The Barbara Jordan Public-Private Leadership Award is presented by Texas Southern University's School of Public Affairs and School of Law. Its first recipient was former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, on June 4, 2015.
Currently, Barbara Jordan is 86 years, 3 months and 1 days old. Barbara Jordan will celebrate 87th birthday on a Tuesday 21st of February 2023.
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