Jordan, Barbara (1936–1996)

Barbara Jordan, the first black woman to be elected to the Texas legislature, was born in Houston, Texas, on February 21, 1936. She was the youngest daughter of Benjamin and Arlyne Patten Jordan. She grew up in the Fourth Ward of Houston in one of the city's largest black ghettos. She attended Texas Southern University, a school created for blacks, who were not allowed to attend the University of Texas, where she excelled at debate and graduated magna cum laude in 1956. In 1959 she graduated with a law degree from Boston University and passed the bar exam in both Massachusetts and Texas that same year. She taught at the Tuskegee Institute for 1 year before returning home. Once home, she set up a private ...

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