Nevertheless, she continued on her path that would lead her from Austin, Texas to Washington D. Following the congressional redistricting plan after the census, the state legislature created a new congressional district in downtown Houston. Critics charged, including incumbent African American legislators, that she had acted out of self-interest and neglected efforts to create more state legislative seats where minorities would have a chance to compete and win elections.
During a campaign fund raising dinner for Jordan, former President Lyndon B. Johnson attended the Houston event. Johnson on Barbara Jordan.
Jordan won the congressional campaign and easily defeated her Republican opponent in the election. She became the first African American woman from the American South to be elected as a member of the U. She also won in the same election where President Richard Nixon overwhelmed his opponent, Democratic Senator George McGovern, to win reelection to a second term.
The paths of Congressman Jordan and President Nixon would soon cross with dramatic consequences. Taking office in as a freshman representative, Jordan worked to establish relationships with older, more senior members of Congress. With assistance from her friends and from former President Johnson, she obtained a highly coveted position on the House Judiciary Committee.
The timing was important for in the coming year the committee would take on issues relating to illegal actions conducted by the Nixon Administration that became known as the Watergate Scandal. The break-in at the Democratic National Headquarters offices in the Watergate Building resulted in a criminal investigation by special prosecutor Leon Jaworski.
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The trail of evidence led to the White House and President Nixon along with attempts to conceal the act and obstruct justice. But when the constitution of the United States was completed. I was not included. After hearing the impeachment case behind closed doors for several months in , the House Judiciary Committee began its debate in open session. Judiciary Chairman Peter Rodino provided each of the 38 members of the committee a fifteen-minute presentation on the impeachment investigation. The statements received extensive coverage by television and the print media.
Jordan did not prepare her remarks until a few hours before her timed appearance. On the evening of July 25, , Jordan delivered her remarks during prime time on live television. Her statement would make her a household name throughout the nation.
Her discussion centered on the Constitution, the responsibilities of the Congress, and the rule of law. The tone of her voice, the power of her rationale, and her ability to explain the Constitution impressed people throughout the country. She had expressed her feelings in words that people could easily understand on a very difficult and controversial topic.
The House Judiciary Committee did not vote on the articles of impeachment as President Nixon announced his resignation a few weeks later on August 8, At the Democratic National Convention, Jordan became the first African American woman to provide a keynote address at a national political convention. She delivered the commencement speech at Harvard University.
But she did not stay long as she announced after three terms in Congress that she would not run for reelection in Ethical behavior means being honest, telling the truth, and doing what you said you would do. From until her death at age 59 in , Jordan held the Lyndon B. As a professor, her classes were very popular and she had an excellent reputation as an educator.
Her long list of awards and accolades is as impressive as her career. In Texas Governor Ann Richards appointed her to the newly established ethics commission. Although she reduced her public appearances, Jordan remained in great demand. Jordan passed away at her Austin home on January 17, , a month shy of her sixtieth birthday from a combination of pneumonia, leukemia and multiple sclerosis.
Barbara Jordan was a humanitarian and believer in democracy.
She provided many firsts and a legacy of service, integrity, honesty, grace and a vision of a better America. I have always enjoyed saying that she won her first political race in spite of my assistance. Years later, after she had retired from politics and was a Distinguished Professor at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs in Austin, she very graciously volunteered to serve as a member on my history dissertation committee at the University of Texas at Austin. Jordan, Barbara and Shelby Hearon. Barbara Jordan, A Self-Portrait. Sherman, Max, editor.
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Speaking the Truth with Eloquent Thunder. McCroskey, Vista. Hendrickson, Jr. All students selected as state finalists will also become eligible to apply for TILF scholarships; the TILF program provides dozens of scholarship opportunities each year.
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Specific guidelines for entries are provided on the page for each competition as specified below. The competition provides students an opportunity to explore the contributions of African Americans to Texas history, as well as honoring the legacy of its namesake, Barbara Jordan.
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