Black lesbians made history too! Today marks what would have been the 75th birthday of Barbara Jordan. Representative Barbara Jordan (D-Texas) was the first African-American woman elected to Congress from a southern state. She was known as an outstanding orator and Constitutional scholar.
According to the Jordan Rustin Coalition, “Jordan was a lesbian with a longtime companion of more than 20 years, Nancy Earl; Jordan never publicly acknowledged her sexual orientation, but in her obituary, the Houston Chronicle mentioned her longtime relationship with Earl. After Jordan’s initial unsuccessful statewide races, advisers warned her to become more discreet and not bring any female companions on the campaign trail.”
At Jordan’s funeral in 1996, President Clinton eulogized her: “Whenever she stood to speak, she jolted the nation’s attention with her artful and articulate defense of the Constitution, the American Dream, and the common heritage and destiny we share, whether we like it or not. ”
Her legacy continues on through the Jordan Rustin Coalition. The mission of the Barbara Jordan / Bayard Rustin Coalition is to empower Black same-gender loving, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals and families in Greater Los Angeles, to promote equal marriage rights and to advocate for fair treatment of everyone without regard to race, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.
Learn more about Barbara Jordan at GLBT History Month’s site.