BORN DURING BLACK HISTORY MONTH BEFORE THERE WAS A BLACK HISTORY MONTH
On February 21, 1936, Barbara Jordan – destined to be the first African American to serve in the Texas Senate since Reconstruction, the first black woman elected to Congress from the South, and the first to deliver the keynote address at a national party convention – was born.
In 1976 – forty years after her February birth, Black History Month – which began as Negro History Week in 1926 – became a national month-long celebration throughout February. It seems almost prophetic.
In her book, Barbara Jordan American Hero, Mary Beth Rogers writes magnificently about a magnificent woman.
Barbara Jordan’s honors kept coming to her throughout her life and added many accolades to her already impressive recital of “firsts.” One of her awards was the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Additionally, her personal qualities of “thundering truth and eloquence,” integrity, and devotion to an America of “We the People” which included ALL the “we” of the “People” were evident in all she said, did and stood for. These qualities allowed her to be a leader in the Civil Rights Movement and at the same time win the love and respect of people of all races – leaders and ordinary people alike.
To experience Barbara Jordan’s “thundering truth, eloquence” and powerful personal presence we are adding the video of her giving the 1976 Democratic National Convention Keynote Address.