Update, May 24: The Texas Senate approved the House’s proposal to name the new state building after the late Barbara Jordan, sending the legislation to the governor’s desk for a signature.
AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Texas Legislature is honoring a lawyer, congresswoman and civil rights advocate who paved the way for Black women in state and congressional office.
The Texas House passed a resolution Friday directing the Texas Facilities Commission to name a building after former State Senator and Congresswoman Barbara Jordan.
The building is currently under construction on the east side of North Congress Avenue between 16th and 17th Streets.
Jordan became the first Black woman elected to the Texas Senate in 1966, according to the National Women’s History Museum, and ultimately became president of the state Senate in March 1972. She worked to implement a minimum wage law, antidiscrimination statements in business contracts and a Fair Employment Practices Commission.
The same year she became president of the Texas Senate, she became the first Black woman elected to Congress from the South since 1898, the museum said. In her role on the House Judiciary Committee, she delivered the opening remarks to Richard Nixon’s 1974 impeachment hearings.
She helped expand the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the museum said, and she was the first African American and first woman to be a keynote speaker at the Democratic National Convention.
She was a professor at the University of Texas at Austin and passed away in January 1996.