Biography (Dictionary of World Biography: Twentieth Century)
Article abstract: The first African American elected to the Texas Senate since Reconstruction, Barbara Jordan went on to become a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. She mesmerized the nation during televised coverage of the House Judiciary Committee’s investigation considering the impeachment of President Richard Nixon.
On February 21, 1936, Barbara Charline Jordan was born to Benjamin Jordan, a warehouse clerk and part-time clergyman, and his wife, Arlyne Patten Jordan, in Houston, Texas. Barbara was raised in a time of segregation and Jim Crow laws. She lived with her parents, her two older sisters, Bennie and Rose Marie, and her grandfathers, John Ed Patten and Charles Jordan.
Barbara’s outlook on life as well as her strength and determination can be attributed to the influence of her maternal grandfather, John Ed Patten, a former minister who was also a businessman. While assisting him in his junk business, Barbara learned to be self-sufficient, strong-willed, and independent, and she was encouraged not to settle for mediocrity. Her determination to achieve superiority was quickly demonstrated in her early years.
Barbara spent most of her free time with her grandfather Patten, who served as her mentor. They would converse about all kinds of subjects. His advice was followed and appreciated by the young girl, who adoringly followed him every Sunday as he conducted his...
(The entire section is 2225 words.)
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