Remembering a Legacy

“We must address and master the future together. It can be done if we restore the belief that we share a sense of national community, that we share a common national endeavor.” Barbara Jordan, a former LBJ School professor here at UT, was the first woman to serve in the Texas Senate and the first southern African American woman to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. The former quote was taken from her 1976 Democratic National Convention speech, which was rated as the fifth best political speech of the 20th century by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Texas A&M. When I moved to Texas in 2009 I listened to the speeches of people like Ann Richards and Barbara Jordan to orient myself to local politics. Through these women I understand why things seem “larger than life” here in Texas. In Barbara Jordan’s words, “I get from the soil and the spirit of Texas the feeling that I, as an individual, can accomplish whatever I want, and that there are no limits.” This drive propelled her into an impressive career of public service in the Lone Star State and beyond. She was a force of nature in the political sphere. Imagine what it takes to be a minority freshman congresswoman – not only a woman, but a woman of color – to speak against the ethical...

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