Barbara Jordan, b. Houston, Tex., Feb. 21, 1936, the
first black U.S. congresswoman from the deep South, defended the cause of the poor and
promoted civil rights legislation during her six years as a representative of Texas.
Noted for her eloquent speaking style she was a Democratic
representative from Houston to the U.S. House of Representatives from 1973 to 1979. As a
member of the House Judiciary Committee, she impressed nationwide TV audiences during the
impeachment hearings concerning President Richard M. Nixon in 1974.
Jordan graduated from Texas Southern University (1956) and was the
first black student at Boston University Law School (1956-59). She served as the only
woman and the only black in the Texas State Senate (1966-72) and was consulted by
President Lyndon B. Johnson on civil rights legislation. She chose
not to run for reelection to Congress in 1978; since leaving the House, Jordan has written
an autobiography and taught at the University of Texas. Her autobiography, "Barbara
Jordan: A Self-Portrait", was published in 1979.