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Texas State University
Texas State University

Barbara Jordan

Former U.S. Representative, Attorney
Thursday, November 4, 1982

Former Congresswoman Barbara Jordan delivering the LBJ Distinguished Lecture

The framers of this constitutional democracy wanted at its head, not a titled nobleman swaddled in hereditary privilege, but a man of intellect, reason, and judgment. They envisioned a government which would tolerate enlightenment and dissent and remain subject to the will of the people.


Barbara Jordan held the Lyndon B. Johnson Centennial Chair in National Policy at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin.

She came to national prominence through her work as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1972 through 1978. Elected by the voters of the 18th Texas Congressional District, she was a member of the Committee on the Judiciary, the Committee on Government Operations, and the Steering and Policy Committee of the Democratic Caucus.

Among Barbara Jordan's major legislative achievements were amendments to the Voting Rights Act which expanded its coverage and provided for printing of bilingual ballots; repeal of federal authorization for state "Fair Trade" laws which sanctioned vertical price-fixing schemes; and detailed, mandatory civil rights enforcement procedures for the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration and the Office of Revenue Sharing.

Barbara Jordan served in the Texas Senate from 1966-1972. In her last year in that body, she served as President Pro Tempore and was Governor for a Day, the first black woman "governor" in United States history.

Professor Jordan holds two academic degrees: the B.A. from Texas Southern University and the LL.B. from Boston University. She also holds 25 honorary doctoral degrees.

In 1981 the World Almanac named Barbara Jordan, for the seventh consecutive year, "One of the 25 Most Influential Women in America." In 1979 a poll conducted by Redbook magazine selected her as a first choice among women who could be appointed to the Supreme Court. That same year, Ladies Home Journal readers selected her as one of eleven "Women of the Decade." She was selected to give the keynote address at the 1976 National Democratic Convention.

— Adapted from the original event program distributed at Barbara Jordan's LBJ Distinguished Lecture.

Transcript of Remarks

The LBJ Distinguished Lecture, delivered by Barbara Jordan.