Barbara Jordan

Barbara Jordan Picture

(1936 – 1996) Politician

Barbara Jordan was a member of Congress from Texas from 1973 to 1979 and was the first African American woman from a southern state in the House. After winning re-election in 1974, Jordan made an influential televised speech before the House Judiciary Committee in support of the impeachment of President Richard Nixon. Jordan’s speech at the 1976 Democratic Convention is considered by many historians to have been the best convention keynote speech in modern history.

In 1973 Jordan began to suffer from multiple sclerosis. She had difficulty-climbing stairs and started using a cane and eventually a wheelchair. Jordan kept her personal affairs such as her multiple sclerosis and being an identified lesbian to herself. Nancy Earl, her life partner for over twenty years, was her caregiver when her illness took a turn for the worse.

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“The Icon History Display was created by a student intern and is not meant to replace a comprehensive search on these historical figures. Content on these biographies was created from the following sources: Queers in History: The Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Historical Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals, and Transgenders by Keith Stern (2009); The Gay 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Gay Men and Lesbians, Past and Present by Paul Russell (1995). To suggest an addition or change contact us at or 217-206-8316.”