A Private Woman in Public Spaces: Barbara Jordan's Speeches on Ethics, Public Religion, and Law
Barbara Jordan was a private woman in public spaces. She emerged from the obscurity of Houston s segregated Fifth Ward to become the first African American Congresswoman elected from Texas since Reconstruction and a keynote speaker at two national Democratic conventions. Although her public career began in politics, she soon became known for her ethics, her vision of community, and her passion for education and public service. Jordan challenged the nation to reclaim constitutional ideals, adhere to moral principles, and commit to a pluralism that was dynamic and transformative. In her speeches she emerges as a woman who views public life as an opportunity to share the very best that the human spirit can conceive. This provocative and creative work offers the first comprehensive analysis of Jordan s written speeches, with particular emphasis on the period that begins with the Watergate years and ends with her immigration initiatives. Ethics, public religion, and law are the three themes that predominate in Jordan s speeches. On these themes, Jordan s voice is heard in juxtaposition with contemporaries Audre Lorde, James Baldwin, Thurgood Marshall, Rabbi Abraham Heschel, bell hooks, and others. Barbara A. Holmes received her law degree from Mercer University and her religion degree from Vanderbilt University. She is currently Assistant Professor of Ethics and African American Religious Studies at Memphis Theological Seminary>
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