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Barbara Jordan was born February 21, 1936, in Houston, Texas.

Barbara Jordan

Source: Nancy R. Schiff / Getty

Barbara Jordan worked hard to achieve her dreams even as she grew up in a poor black neighborhood in Houston, Texas. Jordan (A Preacher’s Kid) was encouraged by her parents to strive for academic excellence. Jordan’s powerful voice became part of her fame even in high school, where she was an award-winning debater and orator. Barbara Jordan went on to become a U.S. congressional representative from Texas from 1972 to 1978 and was the first African American congresswoman to come from the Deep South.

Jordan died of pneumonia, a complication of her battle with leukemia on January 17, 1996, in Austin, Texas. (Sources: and


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