Elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Texas in 1972, Barbara Jordan became the first African-American congresswoman to be elected, and re-elected, from the deep South. Before her election to Congress, she was a Texas State Senator, the first African-American woman to serve there.
Jordan captured the attention of the nation during the 1974 Nixon impeachment hearings. As a member of the House Judiciary Hearings she served on the committee charged with hearing and evaluating the evidence bearing on the possible impeachment of then-President Nixon. It was on this committee that her incisive questioning and her impassioned defense of the Constitution made her a respected national figure.
In l976, Barbara Jordan became the first woman and first African-American to give the keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention. In 1978 she announced that she would not seek re-election and returned to Texas as a full professor at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas. She remained there, and became a counselor to Texas Governor Ann Richards. Her many honors included the Presidential Medal of Freedom.