Courtesy of Texas Christian University, Barbara Jordan CollectionTelevision coverage of Judiciary Committee proceedings, which included her statements about the constitutional gravity of the Watergate Crisis, instantly made Representative Jordan a national figure.
Congresswoman Barbara Jordan of Texas was born on this date. After service as the first black woman in the Texas state senate, Jordan set her sights on a Houston-based U.S. House seat in 1972. “I’ll only be one of 435. But the 434 will know I am there,” she declared while campaigning. That fall Jordan and Andrew Young of Georgia became the first African Americans elected from the Deep South since the Reconstruction Era. Jordan served in the 93rd and the two succeeding Congresses (1973–1979). As a freshman Representative she won a seat on the Judiciary Committee, gaining national notoriety during its impeachment investigation into the Watergate Scandal. “My faith in the Constitution is whole, it is complete, it is total,” Jordan declared in her riveting opening statement. “I am not going to sit here and be an idle spectator to the diminution, the subversion, the destruction of the Constitution.” She eventually joined a majority of the committee members in passing three articles of impeachment against President Richard M. Nixon.