Black History Month: Barbara Jordan

Similar to last year, I will be highlighting a few people, events, and even cases that help show the importance of celebrating Black History Month. This week, I will be highlighting Barbara Jordan. Ms. Jordan was born February 21, 1936 in Houston, Texas. After attending Houston public schools, Ms. Jordan matriculated to Texas Southern University, a historically black college and university (HBCU). From there, she attended and graduated from law school at Boston University before becoming a licensed attorney in 1959.

In 1962, Ms. Jordan began a political career that would see her break many racial barriers for prospective minority politicians in the Deep South, mainly in Texas. In 1966, she was elected to the Texas State Senate, becoming the first African-American state senator in the U.S. since 1883, and the first African-American women ever elected to the Texas State Senate.

In 1972, Ms. Jordan would become the first African-American in the 20th century elected to Congress from the Deep South. Just two years after her election to Congress, Ms. Jordan delivered opening remarks as member of the Judiciary Committee, as the Committee considered articles of impeachment against President Nixon for his role in the Watergate scandal.

Prior to and after gaining fame for her remarks on the Watergate scandal, Ms. Jordan focused on expanding federal civil rights. One example of this included her sponsorship of legislation in 1975 aimed at expanding the protections of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to include Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, and Asian Americans. It is hard to fathom why exactly these groups were not contemplated prior to that time period.

Today, there are more minority politicians, in part because of the path that Ms. Jordan helped pave. This article is only a sliver of what she accomplished, and you should read more about her in depth to see the deep impact she had in politics and in your day-to-day lives in general.

Next week, I will be highlighting something or someone else, so please be sure to look out for my posts!

James J. Hux is the Owner and Sole Attorney at Hux Law Firm, LLC. His practice areas include employment discrimination, personal injury, and general civil litigation throughout the State of Ohio.