Exhibit showcases achievements of Texas African-American trailblazer Barbara Jordan
On the eve of Barbara Jordan's birthday, an interactive exhibit showing her contributions as a political pioneer opens at the Texas State Capitol.
"The exhibit is really showing the history, the life, the political career and impact of Barbara Jordan on our politics, on our democracy, on our society," said Peniel Joseph, Professor of Public Affairs at UT Austin's Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs.
Jordan is not only one of Texas' most notable lawmakers, but an African-American trailblazer both in and outside of politics.
"Her real impact is about believing and talking about small-d American democracy," Joseph said.
She was the first black woman elected to serve in the Texas legislature in 1966. She would then go on to be the first African-American elected to congress after the Reconstruction Era in 1972.
"She believed in the constitution, she believed in small-d democracy, and she really believed in this idea of citizenship as something everyone had to participate in," Joseph said.
One of her most notable political achievements was the passage of the Voting Rights Extension Act requiring the federal government to pay for bilingual voting materials.
"Barbara Jordan was one who was about breaking down barriers and erecting bridges, not building walls, whether literal or figurative," Joseph said.
Jordan was not only known for her high morals and values, but her dedication to fighting for marginalized groups of people.
"Hopefully, the spirit will continue, because if it's left up to me, I'm gonna make sure everybody knows about Barbara," said Willie C. Jordan, a colleague of Jordan.
The Barbara Jordan Freedom Foundation display was put up in honor of Black History month. The exhibit will be on display at the capitol until Saturday.