Profiles of LGBT people, from the past and today – and celebrating their birthdays! All Birthdays →

Barbara Jordan

The daughter of a Baptist minister and a domestic worker, Barbara Jordan was born in Houston, Texas and attended Texas Southern University and Boston University Law School. In 1966, she became the first African American elected to the Texas state senate since the 1880s, and served three terms. In 1972, she was elected to the House of Representatives, the first black woman from the Deep South to serve in Congress. Especially admired for her oratorical skills, she gave a televised speech in 1974 before the House Judiciary Committee urging the impeachment of President Richard Nixon. In 1976, she delivered a stirring keynote address to the Democratic National Convention. Retiring from Congress in 1979, she taught at the University of Texas; received numerous awards for public service, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom; and chaired President Clinton’s Commission on Immigration Reform. Never public about her personal life, she had a thirty-year intimate relationship with Nancy Earl. After a long battle with multiple sclerosis and leukemia, Jordan died in 1996.