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Barbara Charline Jordan

politician and educator
Born: 1936
Birthplace: Houston, Tex.

Jordan received a B.A. in political science and history from Texas Southern University in 1956 and earned a law degree from Boston University in 1959. Elected to the Texas state Senate in 1966, she became the first black to enter that body since 1883. Elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1972, Jordan gained national attention as a member of the House Judiciary Committee, which oversaw President Nixon's impeachment hearings. With her reputation as a fine orator already established, she was selected as the keynote speaker at the 1976 Democratic National Convention in New York City, becoming the first African American to earn that distinction. A tireless supporter of civil rights legislation, Jordan received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1994.

Died: 1996

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