Barbara Jordan’s life and legacy showcased at the Capitol

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Photo Credit: Eddie Gaspar

The Texas State Capitol showcased the legacy of Barbara Jordan, known for being a trailblazer in Texas politics, this week to celebrate her life before what would have been her 83rd birthday on Feb. 21. 

This exhibit, which is located at the Capitol’s North Central Gallery, has been on display annually since a 2010 legislative bill declared Feb. 21-27 as Barbara Jordan Freedom Week at the Capitol for a period of 10 years. 

As a joint project between the Barbara Jordan Freedom Foundation and Texas Southern University, the exhibit maps out Jordan’s life.

“(The exhibit) focuses primarily on (Jordan’s) value systems, her time in the Texas Senate and in Congress as a representative,” foundation board member Sam Bryant said. “Everything from the point of her birth, to her attendance at Texas Southern University, and to her teaching at the University of Texas, LBJ School of Public Affairs.” 

2020 marks the end of the 10-year period indicated in the legislative bill, but Bryant said he believes this exhibit will surpass its 10-year expiration date. He said Jordan’s powerful significance in history is indisputable and should be remembered for years to come.

“She was an extraordinarily principled woman, politician and congressperson who always executed her principled view that emanated from the Constitution with an extraordinarily high degree of prudence and political savvy,” said Gary Jacobsohn, law and government professor. “I don’t recall anybody else from that period who has exemplified the finest traditions of our Constitution more than Barbara Jordan.” 

Hanna Munin, a public affairs graduate student, said Jordan is a role model for young people to this day.

“I hope to guide my career in public service by doing something Barbara Jordan would be proud of,” Munin said. “I think that’s something that the younger generation can look forward to as well.”

Sarah Gonzalez Claytor, a public affairs graduate student, said she was especially inspired by the barriers Jordan broke in her career as not only a woman, but as a woman of color.

“The Texas Capitol still has a good ways to go to receive equitable representation for both women and people of color,” Gonzalez Claytor said. “So I’m really happy that the Barbara Jordan’s story is on display for this week and I hope it inspires a new generation civic leaders.”

 

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