…to remember the remarkable Barbara C. Jordan (February 21, 1936 – January 17, 1996).
While walking the aisles of the O’Quinn Law Library the other day, a surprising jewel was found squeezed in among the heavier volumes. It was the thin book titled Barbara C. Jordan: Selected Speeches.
The book Preface was written by the late Ann Richards, 45th Governor of Texas (1991 to 1995). Reading the speeches, one could hear the deep, forceful voice of the orator Barbara Jordan. Once you heard that voice articulating the truth with passion you could not forget the experience.
So many beautiful, inspiring words to choose from in this little book, it is difficult to choose one quote as an example. Here’s a quote as timely and meaningful today as it was when delivered.
"Our strength is rooted in our diversity. History bears witness to that statement. But that diversity is rife with strain, tension, and doubt. A perfect union has not been formed. … America’s mission was and still is to take its diversity and mold it into a cohesive and coherent whole that would espouse virtues and values essential to the maintenance of civil order. There is nothing easy about that mission. But it is not mission impossible." From -- E Pluribus Unum: Myth or Reality? One from Many; Delivered at Northwestern University, 1993.
Howard University Press (November 1999); ISBN 9780882581996
The book was edited by Sandra Parham, then Archivist for the Jordan papers in the Manuscript Collection, Department of Special Collections located in the Robert James Terry Library at Texas Southern University, our neighbor just down the road from the University of Houston.
For more information about the remarkable, amazing Barbara C. Jordan, also see Barbara Jordan: American Hero by Mary Beth Rogers, (Bantam, 2000) ISBN 9780553380668 where you can also enjoy reader's comments on this publication.