Barbara Jordan, born and raised in Houston, Texas, made history twice in her early political career, becoming the first woman elected to the Texas Senate in 1966 and then being the first African-American from the Deep South to win a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in 1972.
Although she never publicly came out, Jordan was in a more than 20-year-old relationship with a woman named Nancy Earl. This news was shared after her passing from pneumonia, a complication from her leukemia, in 1996 in the Houston Chronicle's obituary of the late congresswoman.
Jordan, who was widely known as a great orator, went to Boston University's law school and opened up a practice in Texas before embarking into politics. Her six-year service in Congress included speaking at the 1976 Democratic National Convention where she said, "My presence here... is one additional bit of evidence that the American dream need not forever be deferred." She also played a critical role in the Watergate scandal.
After leaving Congress due to multiple sclerosis, Jordan wrote a memoir, "Barbara Jordan: A Self-Portrait," published in 1979, and taught at the University of Texas at Austin. In 1992, Jordan returned to speak at the DNC and Bill Clinton would go on to appoint her to lead the Commission on Immigration Reform and award her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1994.
Each day in October, which is LGBT History Month, we'll be featuring a different LGBT icon. Check back tomorrow for a look at another incredible individual who changed history and visit our LGBT History Month Big News Page for more stories.
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