Barbara Jordan

909 Navasota St Austin

Austin History Center
Written By Austin History Center

The Austin History Center's mission is to procure, preserve, present and provide the historical records that make up Austin's unique story.

Texas State Cemetery has always reserved its resting places just for Texas heroes. And Barbara Jordan was one. 

Barbara Jordan was an African-American woman with a great voice. An orator with an almost lyrical talent for words, she burst from Houston’s poor Fifth Ward to become the first African-American (not African-American woman -- the very first African-American and a woman) elected to the Texas Senate since the Reconstruction.

"I get from the soil and the spirit of Texas the feeling that I, as an individual, can accomplish whatever I want to, and that there are no limits, that you can just keep going, just keep soaring, I like that spirit." -- Barbara Jordan

From there she became the first President Pro Tempore of the Senate, and thus the first black woman presiding over a legislative body. Then the first black woman elected to Congress from a former Confederate state. Then the first to give a keynote at a national party convention.  

In Congress, Jordan worked tirelessly to tackle problems like the minimum wage and voter registration. 

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"If the society today allows wrongs to go unchallenged, the impression is created that those wrongs have the approval of the majority." --Barbara Jordan

After three rounds of Congress, she became a professor of ethics at UT-Austin.

Upon her passing on January 20, 1996, Barbara Jordan made her final first -- the first African American woman to be buried in Texas State Cemetery. May this hero rest in peace. 

Cover photo credit nassau_alumnae via Instagram. 

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