Page Two: Stop All The Clocks

Page Two
Barbara Jordan, 1936-1996

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,

Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,

Silence the pianos and with muffled drum

Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

From "Funeral Blues" -- W.H. Auden

"You are the final author of the content of your life," Barbara Jordan once said. She can be proud of her own narrative. Jordan, one of Texas' best and brightest, died Wednesday morning, January 17. She was first known as a pioneer for women, winning a seat in the Texas Senate, achieving what was thought to be impossible for a black woman in 1966. She then served in the U.S. Congress from 1972 through1978, where she was esteemed as one of the country's most principled and ethical legislators, especially during the difficult Watergate years. In 1994, she won an American citizen's highest honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Renowned for her ethics, candor, and quick wit, Jordan once said, about those first days in state government, that the lesson learned was "how to become a member rather than a curiosity. It's difficult to be a lady and a good ol' boy at the same time. But you can do it if you know who you are, what you are, and don't ever get drunk." When she retired from Congress, Jordan took a professorship at the LBJ School of Public Affairs, taught classes in political values and ethics, and was awarded the school's Centennial Chair in National Policy in 1982. Jordan also served on the Texas Supreme Court Task Force on Judicial Ethics, and was the Chair of the Immigration Reform Commission -- an issue that became a passion in her later years.

The immediate cause of death was not released at press time, but Jordan was known to have battled multiple sclerosis for many years. She will be sorely missed. -- Louisa C. Brinsmade

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