Barbara Charline Jordan was born February 21, 1936, in Houston, Texas. Jordan was elected to the Texas Senate in 1966, becoming the first female African-American to do so. In 1972, she was elected president pro-tempore of the Texas Senate - the first African-American elected to preside over a legislative body anywhere in the country. When Jordan was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1972 she became the first African-American woman to represent a previously Confederate state in Congress.
Jordan died of pneumonia on January 17, 1996 at the Austin Diagnostic Medical Center