Barbara Jordan, Not Silenced by MS

I was born with cerebral palsy, but I have not let it stop me from achieving my dreams. I wanted  my book, Ungolden Silence, to not only draw attention to sexual violence, but also to persons with disabilities. There are many famous people who have persevered in spite of their disabilities. I will highlight a few on my blog in the next few weeks.

With it being Women’s History Month, I want to highlight a shero of mine. Barbara Jordan was a prominent politician and a leader of the Civil Rights movement. In 1972, Jordan was elected to Congress and became first woman to represent Texas in the House.

It was during 1973 that Jordan began to suffer from multiple sclerosis. describes, “Multiple sclerosis or MS as a disease that affects the brain and spinal cord. Early MS symptoms can include weakness, tingling, numbness, and blurred vision.”

Her diagnosis was certainly not a setback for her career nor was she silenced.  In 1976, Jordan became the first African-American woman to deliver the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention.

In 1979, Jordan took a break from politics. She became an adjunct professor at the University of Texas at Austin where she taught ethics. She came back on the political scene in 1992 as a keynote speaker at the Democratic National Convention.

Until her death on January 17, 1996 due to complications from pneumonia, Jordan had chaired the U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform.

Jordan accomplished quite a bit in her time in office despite her long battle with MS. She is an inspiration to me and I hope you too.