Hurricane Ike has not only stirred up the wind and the water, it’s stirred up memories in me of Great Women of Texas that I have learned so much from. Barbara Jordan is one that stands out in my mind.
I got the following info from: www.tsl.state.tx.us/…/ barbara_jordan.html
In 1966, the federal courts forced Texas to draw new legislative districts to end the gerrymandering that had denied blacks the opportunity to win public office. That year, Joe Lockridge of Dallas was elected to the House and 30-year-old Houston attorney Barbara Jordan won a seat in the Senate.
With her mastery of legal detail and her extraordinarily commanding presence, Jordan overcame the skepticism and hostility of her 30 male colleagues. In 1972, Barbara Jordan was elected to the U.S. Congress, becoming the first African American to represent Texas in Washington and one of the first two elected from the South in the 20th century. She became a national figure for her role on the House Judiciary Committee during the Watergate hearings. Few who heard her speak will ever forget her words, “My faith in the Constitution is whole, it is complete, it is total. I am not going to sit here and be an idle spectator to the diminution, the subversion, the destruction of the Constitution.”
Jordan was widely considered a future vice-presidential or presidential possibility until her public career was cut short by multiple sclerosis. She left Congress in 1979. In her later years, Jordan taught at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas, advised governors and presidents, and chaired several government commissions. She died in 1996.
Barbara Jordan’s address to the Judiciary Committee considering impeachment of then President Richard Nixon.
“Mr. Chairman, I join my colleague Mr. Rangel in thanking you for giving the junior members of this committee the glorious opportunity of sharing the pain of this inquiry. Mr. Chairman, you are a strong man, and it has not been easy but we have tried as best we can to give you as much assistance as possible.
“Earlier today we heard the beginning of the Preamble to the Constitution of the United States, We the people. It is a very eloquent beginning. But when that document was completed, on the seventeenth of September in 1787, I was not included in that We, the people. I felt somehow for many years that George Washington and Alexander Hamilton just left me out by mistake. But through the process of amendment, interpretation, and court decision I have finally been included in We, the people.
“Today I am an inquisitor. I believe hyperbole would not be fictional and would not overstate the solemness that I feel right now. My faith in the Constitution is whole, it is complete, it is total. I am not going to sit here and be an idle spectator to the diminution, the subversion, the destruction of the Constitution.”