Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Happy Holidays from the Barbara Jordan Archives

As the holiday season draws near, we are reminded that for many of our public servants the demands of the job never stop, and Barbara Jordan was certainly no exception. Her invitation files are full of requests for appearances at official functions, social functions, organization get-togethers and private parties at all times of the year, not just the holiday season. Here is one of Jordan's invitations from President Carter to the 1976 lighting of the National Community Christmas tree in the President's Park in Washington, D.C. Here also is a 1973 invitation from the American Postal Workers Union inviting Jordan to one of their holiday functions. These are just two of the thousands of events that Jordan was invited to during her time in office that highlight Jordan's demand as a politician of prominence.

Have a very happy holiday season from all of us at the Barbara Jordan Archives!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Rosa Parks--55 years later

Today is the 55th anniversary of one of the seminal acts of civil disobedience in America's history. On December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama city bus to a white male passenger. Parks' refusal touched off the Montgomery Bus Boycott, leading to the historic United States Supreme court decision that declared the Alabama and Montgomery laws requiring segregated buses to be unconstitutional. Following the court case, Parks (a seamstress by trade) went on to become a beloved public figure, lending her name and voice to various civil and human rights issues for the next several decades. Parks died in 2005 at the age of 92. Today, the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self-Development continues to provide opportunities for African-American youths for education and self-growth.

These photographs of Rosa Parks are from the Barbara
Jordan Archives, and were taken at the Congressional Black
Congress dinner on October 6, 1978. The dinner was attended by a "Who's Who" in the African-American community (both in and out of politics); Parks was photographed with then-President Jimmy Carter and his wife, former First Lady Roslyn. Enjoy!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Barbara Jordan campaigns, 1962-1976

As Election Month 2010 draws to a close, take a look at our newest online exhibit. The exhibit features Barbara Jordan's campaigns for seats in the Texas Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives. Here you'll see photographs and artifacts from Jordan's political races. Click here to see the exhibit. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Texas Southern University Homecoming

As this weekend marks another TSU Homecoming, we thought this might be an interesting object to post--again, quite by accident, this turned up in an old newspaper clippings file. It's Jordan's acceptance letter to TSU, dated August 28, 1952. Imagine the changes that have occurred at TSU (and the world, for that matter) in the nearly 60 years since Jordan arrived on campus! In addition to Jordan's widely-renowned participation and accomplishments on the
TSU debate team (such as her win at Baylor's annual Forensic Tournament, left, in 1956; in the center is Jordan's debate coach Dr. Thomas Freeman, who is still teaching at TSU today), Jordan was also active with the Delta Sigma Theta sorority, and maintained contacts with her sisters and the organization the rest of her life. We came across a link to a documentary about the founding of the sorority, called the "Black Sorority Project," and since Delta Sigma Theta was a part of Jordan's
time at TSU, we thought it deserved a look. Happy Homecoming to all you TSU Tigers both past and present!

Friday, October 22, 2010

American Archives Month--the National Archives

As American Archives Month winds down, it’s interesting to consider the wonderful and historical artifacts that can be found in archives that cover a wide range of subjects and eras--and the possibilities are endless! For example, there's the Coca Cola archives, the Warner Brothers archives, and the Hard Rock Cafe archives, to name just a few. The National Archives, established by Franklin Roosevelt in 1934, has countless collections and items pertaining to almost every aspect of American history—here’s some of the fun and interesting online exhibits related to American politics the National Archives has available:

The political cartoons of Clifford Berryman:

Presidential elections over the last 80 years:

Gifts to twelve Presidents:

Happy hunting, everyone!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Jordan and the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings--oh, the drama...

Quite by accident we ran across this little blurb in a box of magazines--it comes from the February 27, 1993 Opera News. Fifteen newsmakers, journalists and political figures, including Barbara Jordan, were asked what 20th century real-life event would make a great plot for an opera. Jordan chose the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings, which brought with them unexpected controversy in the wake of Anita Hill's testimony that rocked the nation. Very timely, considering that the Thomas-Hill scandal has surfaced in the news again in the past couple of days!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

American Archives Month

Did you know that October is American Archives Month? American Archives Month was launched in 2006 by the Society of American Archivists (North America's oldest and largest national archival professional association) as a way to promote the value of archives and archivists. The Barbara Jordan Archives is celebrating the month by making as many people aware of the richness and value of archives in general—and not just our own! Click here for some general information on archives. Did you also know that Houston has its own professional organization for archivists? It’s called the Archivists of the Houston Area, or AHA for short. Part of AHA’s mission is to to promote archival repositories and activities in the greater Houston, Texas area. For instance, did you know that in the Houston area alone there are over 40 archival repositories of all sizes, collecting areas and subject matter, including science, medicine, local history, African American history, performing arts, the Holocaust, art and film, church histories, and even cookbooks? Visit the AHA webpage at for more information.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

New Beginnings

Time passes, seasons change...and it's been a long time without updates to our blog. There are some new faces at Texas Southern University's Special Collections and the Barbara Jordan Archives--processing of the Barbara Jordan Papers is getting ready to kick into overdrive, and so the adventures continue. Going forward, we will continue to share interesting finds in the collection, along with the stories behind them.

Our first post in several months feels like a new beginning--so it seems fitting that we share this letter, which was discovered in a box marked "Pamphlets." The letter is Jordan's 1971 response to the Special Collections curator at the time, D. H. Chapman, who asked Jordan to consider depositing her papers with Texas Southern University--remember, at this time, Jordan had only been in the Texas Senate since 1966 and had not yet made the jump to the House of Representatives. It is interesting to read Jordan's observations that her political and personal works were "only beginning" and that she didn't yet have a collection "suitable for deposit." We've come a long way, Ms. Jordan!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

(Editor's note: this post was originally published February 11, 2010.)

There is an event on campus that is going on next week for Black History Month . This is the ad. Next year, we plan to have something for Barbara Jordan on her b-day. By then we should have more to show for the work that we have done.

(Editor's note: this post was originally published February 11, 2010.)

Good Hope Baptist Church and Responder

We are in luck, a big admirer of Barbara Jordan e-mailed me on facebook and donated a picture, located at the left of Barbara Jordan amongst other members of the Houston Chapter of the Links. (Barbara Jordan is in the top row in the center). I was so excited, that I called the admirer, and found out that she is an attorney here in Houston, and has been for a very long time. The admirer was also the National Bar Association President from 1990-1991. We made an appointment with her assistant to meet with her, and she said she has alot of other pictures and items she would like to share with us concerning Barbara Jordan and herself. I look forward to posting all of that right here on our blog, and on facebook. If you would like to visit Barbara Jordan's facebook, simply search her on facebook and request to be her friend. I manage her online accounts.Me and Mademoiselle also made efforts to get in touch with Barbara Jordan's Church so that we can try and make connections with her remaining family. Barbara Jordan attended Good Hope Baptist Church 2905 Cushing Street Houston, Texas 77026. I plan to make a visit next week with the hope that her family still attends. I want to try and see if I can get in touch with Barbara Jordan's remaining living family.
We don't know much about what is currently going on with Barbara Jordan. Some of the questions we would like answered concern her descendants, legacy, etc. We hope that in our meeting with the admirer, we can gain more incite. Barbara Jordan's b-day is comming up, and we would like to have something BIG to show for it. I plan to redo Barbara Jordan's Brochure, and do a powerpoint slide show before her b-day.Lady- signing out

Thursday, October 7, 2010

(Editor's note: this post was originally published February 10, 2010.)

I forgot to post the commencement program for the first post I did, so here it is. The one on the left is the front of the commencement program and the one on the right is the back of the commencement program. Enjoy...., maybe you will also see a name you recognize on the program. I'll have to ask mademoiselle tommorrow which person on the program is her Aunt. She temporarily stepped out of the room.
Lady Signing out
Posted by Barbara at 12:59 PM 0 comments

Finally, I got the time to put these pictures up on the blog. I hope you enjoy them, if you would like a closer view of the photos, then simply click on them. I am so excited about being able to provide the images to our viewers. We have many more things we wish to show our readers, however we have to organize some more things first before we can provide more for you to view. Enjoy :-).

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


(Editor's note: this post was originally published February 3, 2010.)

We hit a snag today. We are in the process of trying to get the scanner in the Barbara Jordan Archives room to operate. We want to get pictures of our findings, such as the lovely high school yearbook made available for our readers and fans to see on this blog and on her facebook page. Mademoiselle informed me today that the processed portion of the Barbara Jordan Archives is roughly 366 linear feet. In other words, if you add together every archival box containing her documents, it is almost the equivalent to the length of a basketball court.Within Barbara Jordan's papers, we were able to discover a newsletter addressed to Ms. Jordan highlighting an African American golfer. Mademoiselle was amazed that black golfers other than the well known and almost infamous golfer Tiger Woods were attending the master series, even back then.

Barbara Jordan had collected copies of Newsweek where presidents had made the front page headlines. We also found a monthly issued magazine titled encore and dated August 1974 with Jordan on the cover. We also found an old Time magazine dated August 5, 1975 where she wrote "save book" in her own hand ontop. The cover of the magazine had Chairman Rodino on the front, and was titled The Vote to Impeach.In the magazine, Barbara Jordan highlighted everything that pertained to her in the article and in the impeachment.

There was also a picture of Barbara Jordan in the article. The highlighted portions were " Texas Democrat Barbara Jordan loomed and boomed like some elemental force, her cultivated accent and erudition surprising each time she spoke..." "...The opposing viewpoints on specificity were best expressed by Sandman and Jordan." "...Jordan (referred to as "the gentlelady" by Rodino) noted that the President was not being deprived of any information or due process. His lawyer James St. Clair had been permitted to sit through all the committee hearings on the evidene, receive all the documents given committee members, and cross-examine witnesses. "That was due process," she said. "Due process tripled, due process quadrupled."

The Nixon loyalists, she charged, were using "phantom arguments, bottomless arguments." How facinating to see quotes of her involvment in the impeachment of President Nixon in this old Time Magazine. Jordan had used a paperclip as a placeholder for the article. On a lighter note, mademoiselle and I wished we could go back to the days when a Time magazine was only going for 60 cents. We also had a laugh when we saw an old picture of a Toyota Corrolla 1200 advertisement in the magazine with a sticer price of $2,299.

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Beginning

(Editor's note: this post was originally published February 2, 2010.)

The purpose of this blog is to highlight the many facets of Barbara Jordan's life (1936-1996) and show how noteworthy they are. When we, began processing her papers within the TSU library, we realized the many connections, trials, and tribulations she overcame, and decided our thought process in uncovering these treasures was essential. Rather than settling for a more classical means of documentation, we decided that we would document our findings in a more futuristic manner in the year 2010. Through this blog, we will enable others to look into the life of Barbara Jordan's archives through our eyes. For privacy purposes I will refer to myself, the assistant archivist as (lady), my co-worker the processing archivist as (mademoiselle), and our boss as (supervisor).Last week was our first week processing papers within the archives, and we made a list of goals and future project to present to supervisor. In addition, we made a list of supplies needed, got music going, put in a request to re-organize the Barbara Jordan showcase room to make it more spaceous so we can display more of her things, discovered the capacity of her collection, and much more. Upon uncovering Barbara Jordan's high school yearbook, we decided to start our blog with her highschool years. So here we go, unveiling the trials and tribulations we will face day in and day out processing the remaining Buried Treasures within the Barbara Jordan Archives, and bring them to light so you can value her life's journey as we do.

The Barbara Jordan Archives would have been completely processessed by now if it weren't for the prior processor's death. Now we have picked up where she left off, and one of the first things we discovered was Barbara Jordan's yearbook dated 1952. It is titled "My School Memory Book," and it is cream colored, worn, and whole punched with two wholes. Barbara Jordan binded the pages of her yearbook together with red ribbons. I thought this was interesting because I felt that maybe she chose red ribbon due to future aspirations of joining Delta Sigma Theta (even then) in college. I wouldn't be surprised if that was the case, given some of the things she noted in her yearbook. Anyways, there are printed drawings of women achieving things on every page throughout the entire book, the things they are shown achieving are in correlation with the titles of the pages in the yearbook. I thought it was nice how she took the time, as we seldom do today to paint all of the women within her yearbook. She painted them with watercolor, and all the women were painted African American, and with elaborately colored, feminine attire.Anyways, on the next page, she made a list of all her friends and their personalities. For instance, she listed the glamor gals, shy characters, career-minded individuals, goons, best talkers, most ambitious, best dancers, show-offs, etc. Under each title accept supermen, she listed at least one name. On the next page she wrote in her own elegant penmanship her charms such as eyes, complexion, hair, and weight and she rated them. She felt her attraction assets were her eyes-voice. Her skills and talents were her public speaking and singing, and her plus and minus qualities were her high-temper.On the next page, many of her teachers signed her yearbook, then on the next page she listed under the page titled unfinished business her hobies which she said were reading, and riding her bike, collections which she said were pictures and medals, fashion fads, which she said were poodle cut, pony or horse tails-short hair in general, and loud colored shoes. Then at the bottom of the same page, it says future which she explained was "to become an outstanding and competant 'lawyer,' To change-M-I-S-S" to "M-R-S." someday, To go to the University of Michigan Law School---someday, To make a good record at T.S.U. On the next few pages she had students sign under pages titled keys to culture, Our music makers, Teen topics, and Tops in Athletics.Under school holidays I was able to draw a connection between Ms. Jordan and myself because I recently took a trip to Chicago the weekend before we uncovered this year book. Jordan describes her trip to Chigago as "the most--wonderful, enjoyable, exciting, adventurous, adorable, unforgettable, rapturous----it was just the best doggone trip i have ever had." I felt similarly about my trip to Chicago. While I traveled for a friends wedding shower, she traveled to Chicago for a National Convention where she represented Texas in an oratorical competition in which she won first place. In her yearbook she placed the speech she used to allow her to win first prize. I was able to uncover this bit of information because she pasted the news article written about her and her win inside of her year book.It was obvious throughout the rest of the book how well known she was at her school. She had pictures of many of her classmates in the book as well as many signatures and quotes written by classmates and teachers. Unfortunately, some of the photos were ripped out by someone who discovered this book before us.

Still, I thought it was cool how well documented her high school years were in this Memory Book, and we are proud to have discovered it in fairly good condition after 58 years. She got all of her administrators' signatures, and her favorite teachers to sign.Of course mademoiselle looked at the yearbook as well, and in the commencement program, she was able to find her great aunt's name. We were excited about this. She said she was going to speak and record her aunt speaking about her high school experience with Barbara Jordan at Phillis Wheatley Senior High School, and add it to the Barbara Jordan Archives because her aunt is still living. Mademoiselle and I couldn't help but note how connected Barbara Jordan was, and how small this world is. Isn't it odd that the commencement's theme was "The Negro Brings His Gifts."--something to think on till next time.