In the 1940s, Barbara Jordan was a young girl with a big dream and a powerful voice. She became a top student, and honed her speaking skills as an award-winning member of the speech and debate team.
Her intelligence, passionate speaking skills, and resilience would come in handy as she became a lawyer and, eventually, a shrewdly effective politician.
She knew that as a Black woman, and a lesbian, she would be unfairly criticized for things that shouldn’t matter. She was right - but by focusing on her work, her racist and homophobic peers couldn’t tell her anything because she was so effective.
After she showed how capable she was, they had no choice but to be impressed. She helped pass numerous pieces of progressive legislation and was elected to party leadership.
She became most famous nationally, however, by using her gift for speech. Her defense of the Constitution, during the Watergate scandal, is considered one of the best speeches of the 20th century.
Many of her peers and constituents said she had the “voice of God.”
Later, she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and ended her political career to focus on teaching. But she will forever be remembered as a passionate, gifted public servant, whose incredible voice proved to naysayers that Black women are powerful and capable.