[Congressional Record: January 24, 1996 (House)]
[Page H822-H829]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



 
                TRIBUTE TO THE LATE HON. BARBARA JORDAN

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under the Speaker's announced policy of May 
12, 1995, the gentlewoman from Texas [Ms. Jackson-Lee] is recognized 
for 60 minutes as the designee of the minority leader.
  

Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas.

Mr. Speaker, many fear the future, many are distrustful of their leaders, and believe that their voices are never heard. Many seek only to satisfy their private work wants and to satisfy their private interests. But this is the great danger America faces, that we will cease to be one Nation and become, instead, a collection of interest groups, city against suburb, region against region, individual against individual, each seeking to satisfy private wants. Mr. Speaker, if that happens, who then will speak for America? Who then will speak for America? What are those of us who are elected public officials supposed to do? I will tell you this, we as public servants must set an example for the rest of the Nation. It is hypocritical for the public official to admonish and exhort the people to uphold the common good if we are derelict in upholding the common good. More is required of public officials than slogans and handshakes and press releases. More is required. We must hold ourselves strictly accountable. We must provide the people with a vision of the future. Mr. Speaker, that was from Barbara Jordan, 1976, at the Democrat Convention. Mr. Speaker, last week we lost an American hero. Barbara Jordan died last week on Wednesday, January 17, 1996, a friend to many, a mentor, and an icon. The late honorable Congresswoman, Barbara Jordan, who not only represented the 18th Congressional District of Texas that I am now privileged to serve, was one of the first two African-Americans from the South to be elected to this august body since reconstruction. She was a renaissance woman, eloquent, fearless, and peerless in her pursuit of justice and equality. She exhorted all of us to strive for excellence, stand fast for justice and fairness, and yield to no one in the matter of defending this Constitution and upholding the most sacred principles of a democratic government. To Barbara Jordan, the Constitution was a very profound document, one to be upheld. The lady, Barbara Jordan, the first black woman elected to the Texas Senate, was born February 21, 1936, the daughter of Benjamin and Arlene Jordan. The youngest daughter of a Baptist minister, she lived with her two sisters in the Lyons Avenue area of Houston's Fifth Ward. The church played an important role in her life. She joined the Good Hope Baptist Church on August 15, 1953, under the leadership of Rev. A.A. Lucas, graduating with honors from Houston's Phyllis Wheatley High School in the Houston Independent School District. [[Page H823]] Ms. Jordan went on to Texas Southern University, where she majored in government and history. While at Texas Southern University, Barbara Jordan was an active student and a member of the debate team for 4 years, and a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. She got her tutelage under Dr. Thomas Freeman, who gave her the inspiration and certainly the training to formulate both her words and her tone, and to make her one of this world's greatest orators. It was her involvement with the debate team that began for her a series of firsts that will become the hallmark of her professional life. Ms. Jordan was a member of the first debate team from a black university to compete in the forensic tournament held annually at Baylor College University in Texas. On that occasion, she won first place in junior oratory, one of many first place trophies in a career as a debater. We must remember at those times there were not many black debate teams from across the Nation competing in integrated tournaments. This was a first. Ms. Jordan was outstanding. After graduating magna cum laude from Texas Southern University in 1956, she received her law degree from Boston University in 1959. This Constitution became part of Barbara Jordan's life, and she carried it everywhere she went. We already knew Barbara Jordan before the 1974 impeachment hearings, but her undaunted courage on that somber occasion etched her name in our memories forever. Those of us who have been honored by having the public place its trust in us know the onerous burden and the weight of passing a vote destined to alter our history forever. We know what it took for Barbara Jordan to say ``yea, aye'' when the House Committee on the Judiciary roll was called on July 30, 1974, and we are still admiring her for it. That was the day we realized that she was much more than the gilded, persuasive voice that always held sway when she spoke. I remember her talking about this momentous day and her participation in the Watergate hearings. This young woman, newly elected to Congress, took these responsibilities extremely seriously. She was concerned that people across the country felt that this Government was being undermined, that we were in the throes of a potential revolution, that all would be lost. Barbara Jordan, concerned about the moment, the history, the impact, seriously studied all of the Watergate hearings in review, listened attentively, and indicated to all of us that she viewed this Constitution as a serious document and would not view it and see it be diminished. She took this role seriously, and she was concerned that she speak in measured words and tone, so those who might be looking would still have faith in the Constitution and in this Government. It was the honorable Barbara Jordan that calmed the fears of most Americans, saying that if she was there with her faith in this Constitution, albeit that she had not been included in this Constitution as an African-American when it was written, then they knew that all might be well. We realize that Barbara Jordan was a tremendous moral force and was calling upon all of us to account to our conscience as a Nation. Her untimely death leaves a great void in our national leadership, and she will be sorely missed as we grapple with the great moral issues of the day. Barbara Jordan was a lawyer, legislator, scholar, author, and presidential adviser. She was immensely gifted, and used every bit of her talent and skill to address, improve, and dignify the conditions of human life. In the tradition of Frederick Douglass, Martin Luther King, and Thurgood Marshall, she challenged the Federal Government and the American people to uphold the principles set forth in the American Constitution. Congresswoman Jordan began her public career as a Texas State Senator. Might I say to you, she was a first then, for there had never been an African-American in the Texas Senate, and she stood tall and proud. Her voice, although eloquent and resonating throughout the halls, was full of passion, and she felt compelled to represent those, the least of her sisters and brothers, individuals who might never have gone outside of the realm of their neighborhood, who might not be able to read or write, did not have a job. She has spoken on behalf of small businesses. She was very concerned about civil rights, employment discrimination, equality and justice, even in the Texas Senate. She served her country with great distinction as a Member of Congress and chairwoman of the U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform. Her extraordinary impact on our country will be felt for many generations. She gained national prominence in the 1970's as a member of the House Committee on the Judiciary during the impeachment hearings of President Richard Nixon. Again, her eloquent statement regarding her faith in the Constitution helped the Nation to focus on the principle that all elected officials, including the President of the United States, must abide by the mandates of the Constitution. During her tenure in Congress, Congresswoman Barbara Jordan was a leader on issues relating to voting rights, consumer protection, energy, and the environment. Might I add that she was particularly forceful in including language minorities in the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which then covered Texas, and also allowed for Hispanics and others to be included so that they would have equal justice under the law as right, and have full participation in this Nation, and a full part of this Constitution. Additionally, Congresswoman Jordan played an active role in the Democratic Party. She served as a keynote speaker at the 1976 and 1992 Democratic National Conventions, and constantly challenged the Democratic Party to be a catalyst for progress and make the American dream a reality for all Americans. After retiring from Congress, Congresswoman Jordan was appointed a distinguished professor at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin. This position enabled her to have a major influence on the next generation of public officials. She impressed her students with her intellect and ability to inspire them to achieve excellence in the classroom, and to be committed to public service. Mr. Speaker, Barbara Jordan was buried on January 20, 1996. She was buried at the Texas National Cemetery. She was the first African- American in the history of the national State cemetery to be buried there, in her death a first, but making a statement that she was laid to rest among Texas heroes. They benefited because an American hero was laid to rest with them. As I stood on the burial ground and participated in that ceremony, it was an overwhelming feeling, for it came to me that we lost her too early. This was reinforced when one of her students came up to me, stood next to me and said ``I know you.'' And I said ``Yes? And who are you?'' ``I'm a student. I was taught by the honorable professor Barbara Jordan.'' I said ``How interesting. You have a great experience to cherish.'' She said, ``Yes, and in her classroom, she talked a lot about you.'' Both of us, touched very much at that time, just stood and embraced, for this was a woman who was not afraid of sharing herself and others, and she was not afraid of young people. She loved them. She wanted to give to them, and in them, she saw the opportunity for love and caring and the future. Congresswoman Barbara Jordan leaves the American people, particularly Members of Congress, a powerful legacy of commitment to freedom, integrity, government, and belief in human progress. She also leaves and is survived by her mother, Arlene Jordan, her sisters, Bennie Jordan Chriswell, Rosemary McGowan, brother-in-law, John Wesley McGowan, aunt and uncle, Mamie Reed Lee and Wilmer James Lee, close friends, Nancy Earle, Angie Taylor Morton, Muriel and Lee Dudley, Evelyn and Walter Harrison, Lonnie and Mary Elizabeth York, Robert and Norma Jones, Anna, Lois, and Carl T. Taylor, Billy Brown and Betty Thomas, Patsy Hurd, Jerry Earl, and Willie Calhoun. I would simply say to you that she leaves throngs of others, hoping that her words will continue on in our hearts, but most importantly, in our actions. She stated: America's mission was, and still is, to take diversity and mold it into a cohesive and coherent whole that would espouse virtues and [[Page H824]] values essential to the maintenance of civil order. There is nothing easy about that mission, but it is not Mission Impossible. The Honorable Barbara Jordan. Nothing was too hard for her to accept as a challenge, and nothing was too hard for her to overcome; a great American. We lost her, but not her words and her message. I am delighted today to be joined by the gentlewoman from North Carolina, the Honorable Eva Clayton, who has come from the great State of North Carolina, in fact knows of the great works of the Honorable Barbara Jordan, and is likewise an African-American woman serving in the U.S. Congress. I yield to the gentlewoman from North Carolina. Mrs. CLAYTON. I want to thank the gentlewoman from Texas for arranging this special order, Mr. Speaker, and allowing us to participate in it, and to give honor to it. Mr. Speaker, when I speak of freedom, fairness, justice, and equality--words that compose the very foundation of this democracy--I often quote Barbara Jordan. Barbara Jordan was more than a leading figure, a great stateswoman, and an oratorical genius. She was the essence of leadership, the epitome of statesmanship, and the embodiment of oratory. She believed in America, and the principles underlying the creation of this Nation. More importantly, she was not afraid to fight for those principles and to stand up for her beliefs. Perhaps a speech she delivered in 1974, best captured her firmness and her fight. In discussing the meaning of the Constitution, she stated, ``We, the people.'' ``It is a very eloquent beginning.'' ``But when that document was completed on the 17th of September, in 1787, I was not included in that `We the people.' '' Barbara Jordan continued, ``I felt somehow for many years that George Washington and Alexander Hamilton, just left me out by mistake. But through the process of amendment, interpretation, and court decision, I have finally been included in, `We the people.' '' All of us can imagine the penetrating way she said those words. With a distinctive style, a commanding voice, in clear, crisp language-- there was only one Barbara Jordan. When she spoke--we listened--the world listened. And, few interpreted the meaning of the Constitution like Barbara Jordan. It is for that reason that we acknowledge the deep and wide abyss that has been left by a death, too soon, at age 50, on January 17. Her career of public service began in service. Never reluctant to do her part, in 1960, she addressed envelopes for the Kennedy campaign. Her special talents, however, were soon recognized, and she was elected as the first black woman in the Texas State Legislature, and the first black woman elected to Congress from the South. In many ways, Mr. Speaker, she paved the way for me and for other African-American women. It is also, in many ways, ironic that Barbara Jordan's political interest was first sparked by reflection on the deeds of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Today's Republican Party often discusses its efforts in terms of revolution and makes comparisons and contrasts with the New Deal days of Roosevelt. It is ironic because, it is said that, Barbara Jordan's grandfather never began a meal without thanking God, ``for FDR and the Home Finance Administration, which made this house possible.'' Perhaps that early lesson gave her the clear vision that, indeed, government has a role in our lives. She left Congress in 1978, to assume a teaching position at the University of Texas--of course, she was teaching all along. We shall never forget the stirring keynote addresses she gave at Democratic Conventions 16 years apart, in 1976, and again in 1992. What was remarkable was that neither time, nor space, nor distance had tarnished her devotion to America's fundamentals. ``Won 'em both,'' she said. The Watergate hearings may have thrust Barbara Jordan across the national landscape. But, it was an unwavering spirit, a daring dedication and an unmatched commitment to this Nation that made Barbara Jordan who she was. It is because Barbara Jordan believed that there is a place for all in America--young and old; black and white; male and female; rich and poor. And, it is because Barbara Jordan has died that each of us must never stop insisting upon that place. That is our challenge. The Statue of Liberty was closed during the Government shutdowns--an inauspicious symbol of today's America. But, to the end, Barbara Jordan stood fighting for fundamentals. As chair of the U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform, her most recent public service post, she stated, ``It was immigration that taught us, it does not matter where you came from, or who your parents were. What counts is who you are.'' I shall continue to quote Barbara Jordan. The pearls of wisdom she shared with us in life, live on through death. Freedom, fairness, justice, and equality--We are far closer, today, than ever before, to those words which, too often, are mere platitudes. And, we will continue to be closer, because the spirit of Barbara Jordan lives. {time} 1815 Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentlewoman from North Carolina. I applaud and agree with her words that only because of her words and actions are we closer to freedom. Mr. Speaker, I yield 30 seconds to my good friend, the gentleman from Colorado [Mr. McInnis]. Mr. McINNIS. Mr. Speaker, first of all, I would like to commend the gentlewoman from Texas, as well as her colleagues. I think if Barbara Jordan were here, she would be proud of the words spoken on her behalf by all of my colleagues, and I commend that. Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas. Mr. Speaker, reclaiming my time, it gives me great honor to be able to yield time to the Honorable Louis Stokes, who I know that the Congresswoman enjoyed many good years of service with. I know of his commitment, but also his friendship, and I know how much the family appreciates him being here today to honor the Honorable Barbara Jordan, the senior member of the Committee on Appropriations, the Honorable Louis Stokes. Mr. STOKES, Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentlewoman for yielding to me. I want to express our appreciation on behalf of all of us for her taking out this special order this evening so that all of us might pay tribute to this very great American lady. Mr. Speaker, we gather tonight to pay tribute to the late Barbara Jordan, an extraordinary individual and former Member of the House. On January 17, 1996, the Nation mourned the passing of this political giant and gifted orator. During her lifetime, she served this Nation with honor and dignity. We join family members, friends and others throughout the Nation in sorrow at her passing. Barbara Jordan was a remarkable American who will never be forgotten. Some of us who are gathered here today are fortunate to have served in Congress with this great lady. And, as I stand here today, I have many fond special memories of my personal friendship with her in this Chamber. She frequently served in the capacity of speaker, pro tempore during that period. Whenever she was in the Chair, the Manner in which she presided over the entire House was a beauty to behold. Her dignity and elegance was in full bloom at those times. Those of us who served with Barbara Jordan came to love, admire and respect her greatly. Not only was she a knowledgeable legislator, but she was also someone who was sincere and compassionate. Whatever she did or said, she did or said with fervor. She also had a great sense of time. She respected the time of others, and she demanded that you respect her time. Barbara Jordan set a standard of excellence and integrity which will remain as a legacy forever. She was a tireless advocate for those who had no voice in the congressional deliberations. She was also a champion of justice and a staunch defender of the Constitution. A graduate of Boston University Law School, Barbara Jordan was one of American politics' pioneer black women. She began her political rise in 1966, when she was to the Texas State Senate, becoming the first African-American elected to that legislative body. [[Page H825]] In 1972, Barbara Jordan again made history when she and Andy Young became the first African-Americans from the South to be elected to Congress since reconstruction. Congress found in Barbara Jordan, a lawmaker of the highest caliber and integrity. Mr. Speaker, we recall the eloquence of Barbara Jordan in 1974, as Congress debated the possible impeachment of the President of the United States. During the Judiciary Committee deliberations, she stirred the national conscience when she declared, ``My faith in the Constitution is whole, it is complete, it is total, and I am not going to sit here and be an idle spectator to the diminution, the subversion, and the destruction of the Constitution.'' Barbara Jordan was also held in high esteem by the leaders in the White House. On two occasions, in 1976, and again in 1992, she was selected to deliver keynote speeches at party conventions. And, in 1994, we applauded as Barbara Jordan received the Nation's highest honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, from President Clinton. It represented a fitting tribute to a distinguished American. Mr. Speaker, Barbara Jordan was a giant in the legal profession and one of America's greatest constitutional authorities. Her eloquent voice, impeccable integrity, and legal scholarship, elevated her to the top of the legal and political profession. She will be greatly missed. I and others in this Chamber bid her fair farewell with gratitude for the opportunity to have known her during her distinguished lifetime. I thank the gentlewoman for yielding to me. Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas. I thank the honorable Congressperson Lou Stokes, for his eloquence and his recognition that this Congresswoman, Barbara Jordan, was good at her work. She was a good legislator. She was a legal scholar, and she took her work very seriously. In so doing, she made us proud and she upheld the Constitution. I thank my colleague for sharing with us and, of course, for being her friend. It gives me great pleasure now to yield to her colleague who served with her in that momentous time as a member of the House Committee on the Judiciary in 1974. He remains a stellar Member of this body. He is, in fact, a senior member of Ways and Means, and I personally could see the anguish in his face as we funeralized this great lady. I welcome to the well the gentleman from New York [Mr. Rangel]. Mr. RANGEL. Mr. Speaker, let me first thank the gentlewoman for taking the time out to give us a chance to pay honor to this great lady, a lady indeed of America and the world. My colleagues may not have known Mo Udall, but Mo was a beloved Member of this House, and before he left, once in the middle of the night, when the House was crowded and everyone wanted to go home, Mo came to the well of this House of Representatives and said, all that has to be said about this bill has already been said. And the House just burst out with deep appreciation. But then he added, but not everyone has said it. I think when we talk about a great person and personality like Barbara Jordan, that once again we find ourselves in the position that most things have already been said. So I thought what could I add, and then that made me think more about Barbara. We sat together on that Committee on the Judiciary, as the gentleman from Ohio [Mr. Stokes] pointed out, side by side for the many weeks and months to determine and to deliberate whether or not the acts of the President of the United States, then President Nixon, had warranted us on the Committee on the Judiciary in voting for articles of impeachment, which, as everyone knows, means that it amounted to an indictment and a trial would later be had in the Senate. Barbara was always more than adequately prepared to hear the testimony, to ask the appropriate question, and you would think that she was chief counsel of the committee if it was dependent on the quality of her preparation. But while some of us, especially those of us who have been former prosecutors, were framing the question in terms of trying to get the answers that we were probing for, I noticed that most of her questions were not to determine whether or not President Nixon had committed any wrongdoing, but whether or not the Members of the House were prepared to distort that Constitution in order to achieve a political goal, as some may think is going on now in the Senate. {time} 1830 Some have said that Barbara was not one to take fools lightly. And sitting next to her, I certainly did not intend to joke with her about the serious task that she had taken on. But as we had seen so many people tear apart the law as we would know it, she was there to defend the system to make certain it would be there for someone who needed the protection and the cloak of innocence of our Constitution. But most of the time that I raised these questions to her, she would dismiss me, having already made up her mind, by saying, ``There you go, Charles, up to mischief again.'' And so why would I be any different tonight when I loved Barbara then and love her now and miss her now? And if there was anything that I would want her to say to me, it would be, ``There you go again, Charles,'' with a smile on her face, ``up to mischief again.'' And I would be up to mischief tonight to say that this gracious lady will always be remembered in this country as a great American, as she should be. She also will be remembered as one who wore the flag and the Constitution so close to her heart as if to say that she will take the stones and the arrows, but do not touch her precious Constitution. And as oft cited, reported, she would say that even those that knew that people like she were treated as chattel and property when the Constitution was written, she would dismiss it and say, it was a mistake and she is there to correct it. But, Congresswoman Lee, the thing has to remain now that she is gone and invested her time, her energy, her eloquence in protecting that Constitution, will the United States of America and those who loved and cherished her allow that Constitution to be broad enough now to give the protection for the people that she loved the most, the people from the poverty-stricken rural areas where she came from that cannot rise to her height in physical, intellectual, or oracle skills? Would those that pay tribute to her be prepared to say that she never accused them of racism, she never wore her sex or her race on her sleeve. She said, this country was rich enough, broad enough, cared enough that she did not have to say those things, it would work its way out. At the funeral, so many said that Barbara is not gone, that she lives with us, and this means what she stood for lives with us. If that is so, why does this Chamber look more like a Congressional Black Caucus meeting than a lady who concerned herself about the Congress only because it was part of the Constitution? When the President of the United States and the leader of the free world goes to Texas to pay tribute, is that not a sign that everybody, especially those in Texas, white or black, Mexican or nutmeg Jew, Gentile, Catholic, Protestant, should be there, because Barbara was not making mischief, she was making history to say that you do not have to make mischief to achieve? And she proved that it could be done, and she did in fact do it. I do hope that when Barbara is remembered, that she is not thrown into the category of mischiefmakers, because they have a way of saying you pushed a little too hard, you were not sensitive to our political problems, or that sooner or later you would get all of the things that you are entitled to under the Constitution, because Barbara did not take issue with that. She knew it would work out. I say in tribute to Barbara Jordan, this great American, why can everyone who loved her not take a page out of that book, and whether they come from Texas, they are a politician, a Member of Congress, whether they are black, whether they are a woman, remember that she gave everything she had to protect that parchment, and she did not just protect it for those people who look like her. She was protecting it for everybody in this country, even former President Richard Nixon. If she could care that much to give up political objectives in order to protect this paper, why can every American who expects that paper to be there for them and their grandchildren not [[Page H826]] do a little something that Barbara would want them to do? Be less political, less partisan, less mean-spirited, and be more American, be more caring, be more what the forefathers wanted, and, that is, to work together, to live together, to make this a better country, more productive, and spend our energy and time in getting rid of poverty and disease instead of building up hatred and causing confrontations. I tell the Congresswoman, in my humble opinion, she liked people to make mischief, but she did not believe that everyone had to do it the same way. So why do we not pay tribute to her and do it Barbara's way, and, that is, to make certain that no matter where we come from, if we find someone that looks like Barbara, that may not be able to walk like Barbara, that may not be able to speak like Barbara, may not be able to command the presence that Barbara had for all of us, to remember she, too, he, too, they deserve the protection of this great document that she died with, held closely to her bosom. That is the tribute that I think that you pay to an American. And that is the tribute that we should have all over America, not just in Houston, not just in Austin, not just here, not just with the Congressional Black Caucus, not just with the President of the United States but with every child in every valley regardless of complexion or religion to say, what a great person and how wonderful it was that America had such a wonderful defender. I thank the gentlewoman from Texas. Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas. I thank the gentleman. If he would just for a moment, you have raised a very solemn challenge. And for fear of anyone perceiving politics being involved, let me add that Barbara would always tell us in Texas that she did not fear being called a politician. She just wanted to be a good politician. And because we are where we are today, am I understanding the gentleman from New York to suggest that we in this great body today, in this era, in 1996, in the midst of our own discussions, might take a page from the life of this legacy, this American hero, about bringing interests together, diverse interests, about working for the common good, about the understanding that the Constitution and the whole American people are more important than the singular? Am I understanding the gentleman almost instructing through her life that we might take that page, or 10 pages, out of that book and maybe in weeks and months to come, we would see our way clear to follow a cohesive pattern to work for all of America? Mr. RANGEL. Dear gentlewoman, you have well described our Barbara Jordan and in doing so you described our Constitution and our great Republic. Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas. I thank the gentleman. Let me also appreciate my colleague and certainly in her own right a fighter, an advocate for equal rights and equal justice, a legal scholar herself and now the honorable Delegate from the District of Columbia. But as we all applaud and believe, equal under the law, and we are advocating that for her constituents and we applaud her work on their behalf, and she has come now to honor Barbara Jordan, the Honorable Eleanor Holmes Norton of the District of Columbia. Ms. NORTON. I thank the gentlewoman from Texas for her kind remarks, and I thank her even more for her leadership in taking out this special order. May I say to the gentlewoman that I think that Members of this body would agree with me that even as a freshman, she is proving herself a worthy successor of Barbara Jordan. Barbara Jordan was a great American. I intend for my few minutes to be devoted to proving that proposition. Her presence was so awesome that she is likely to be remembered more for her voice and her style than for her substance. That would be just too bad. For in this world it is not how you say what you have to say, it is indeed what you have to say. And if you have nothing to say, the most resonant voice should do you no good. Why is it that when Barbara Jordan spoke, everybody listened? Was it really a matter of style? I submit that it was a matter of substance. To be sure, amplified by a very original and very forceful style. But I hope that we listened to what Barbara Jordan had to say, for here was a woman who had something to say. We are inclined to look at our leaders in surface ways, especially in the age of television and demonstrations. I think of King and Malcolm. King is remembered today, for example, as the militant leader for equality and God knows he was that and perhaps that first and foremost. But if we look deeper into his life, there are parts of his life that have fallen back, because we look at the surface, we remember the obvious. We do not remember King the intellectual, King the advocate of racial harmony, King the pacifist, King the man who was extremely modest and self-effacing. We remember the marches, we remember the speeches. It is important to remember a person's whole life. I want us to remember Barbara Jordan's whole life, not just her presence. In the same way, I chuckle at the way people remember Malcolm X. Because I think most Americans remember Malcolm X as a militant black nationalist. I believe Malcolm would want you to remember him as he was at the end of his life, when he had renounced black racism along with white racism, when he had renounced anti-Semitism, and frankly almost all of his prior life, when he went to Mecca and came back and said, ``I believe in the brotherhood''--and sisterhood, I think he would have had it. What I find awesome about Malcolm is his capacity to grow and change and learn and lead even if it meant his life. Similarly, Barbara Jordan was not some bold, big-talking black woman who brought us a message of equality. She was that and she was so much more than that. her Watergate remarks are, of course, most remembered, the famous lines ``We the people,'' ``My faith in the Constitution is whole, it is complete, it is total.'' Those are not lines often spoken by many African-Americans. And she spoke them not just because she believed she lived in a perfect democracy. She believed just the opposite. In that very speech, she began by saying, words to the effect, ``I guess we can say We The People because now they have included me in We The People. They certainly didn't mean me when we started out.'' Then she said, ``By virtue of amendment, I too am now part of We The People.'' And in effect what she was saying was it took this Constitution a long time to get around to including me in We The People, I feel a special obligation to protect the Constitution, and I am not about to let it be subverted by the actions of even a President of the United States like Richard Nixon. {time} 1845 Her faith in the Constitution was total, because she had seen the evolution to include people like herself, and thus she believed that the country would reach its highest ideals and devoted much of her life talking in that idealistic fashion. Of course, Barbara Jordan was an advocate for the downtrodden in the tradition of the Congressional Black Caucus. The gentleman from New York will be the first to tell you, she was there on all of those principles. But, as he said, people go at it in different ways, and she had her own special way. What I will most remember about Barbara Jordan is fearless leadership. This sense of integrity made her rise above the political moment and made her whatever the political lashes on the shores might have been, made her true to whatever were her principles. Here is a woman that deeply believed in equality across all racial lines and believed she ought to speak to her own people who were black and beyond. Now, many African-Americans do not believe they should speak beyond, because it is very hard for them to get beyond. Life has been very difficult. So then, perhaps even more now, people speak out of their own experience and do not speak to the larger American experience. Here is a woman that knew she had the capacity to do it, and felt it her obligation to do it. This capacity to lead is very important, because it means you can say difficult things. People will listen to you and they will be accepted. About the easiest thing for me to say in my district, and I think it would probably be the case in the district of the gentlewoman from Texas now and [[Page H827]] then, would be to talk about equality and to talk about the things that, frankly, I love to talk about. I love to talk about how black is beautiful and I love to talk about black pride. But there are more difficult things to talk about then and now which really relate to the lines that are being drawn so that we increasingly live in isolated worlds. Look, we can do that. We can do that. But if we do that enough, we are courting danger. When I looked at her words, I see a constant theme running through everything she said and everything she wrote. It was that here is this black woman, over and over again she said we are all one people. Do not succumb to balkanization and polarization. It is the worst, not the best in America. We have helped America find their way out of this. Do not do it. She was speaking against the grain of the time, and she continued to speak to that theme to the end of her life. On National Public Radio I heard her words most recently spoken in which she said she was astonished at racial separation, segregation, polarization. Much of it she said was self-imposed. Here was Barbara Jordan speaking at the end of her life in ways that almost no black Americans are speaking today. I pulled out her remarks from the Democratic Convention in 1992, and let me read a few sentences. Here is Barbara Jordan. Here is how she will be remembered by her country. We are one. We are Americans, and we reject any intruder who seeks to divide us by race or class. We honor cultural identity. However, separatism is not allowed. Separatism is not the American way, and we should not permit ideas like political correctness to become some fad that could reverse our hard won achievements in civil rights and human rights. The fact is Barbara Jordan had the moral authority to say that, without appearing to be any less committed to equality and to the beauty of blackness. She had the capacity to be a teacher, and she insisted upon teaching, she insisted upon leading, she would not simply go with the crowd. That is the kind of leadership we need today in a country where we see less and less of the sense of community, more and more of the sense of I have got mine, you ought to get out there and get yours, less and less of a sense that we are all one big insurance policy. An insurance policy is a vehicle where we are all in it and some of us need it sometimes and some of us never need it. If we are not that kind of community, if we are not that kind of federation, then we are not living in the tradition of Barbara Jordan. Yes, I feel a special debt to Barbara Jordan as an American black woman in political life. But her debtors are far greater. She was a political pioneer who never stopped changing our country for the better. She was never cynical about her country, and she inspired those who were to reach above the low point of Watergate that they could indeed reach to the ideals that her country had yet to reach. Her remarks at the Watergate hearings, by far her most memorable, will, I think, be remembered by history precisely because of the skillful blend of criticism and idealism. They were both in that speech. Barbara Jordan was both a pioneer and a political mentor to thousands of women. She encouraged by example to engage in politics at every level. Through her commanding presence, she taught women, especially black women, that they could take charge. Active until the end of her productive and fruitful life, Barbara Jordan never stopped leading. She never stopped serving. We will not stop remembering. I thank the gentlewoman. Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas. I thank the gentlewoman from the District of Columbia. Might I just say something, as I indicated to the gentleman from New York: You taught, as many of us are aware. The last years of the congresswoman's life was spent as a professor. Many asked me many times as I traveled around the country, ``How is Barbara? Where is she?'' She was fine. She was absolutely enjoying what she was doing, which was being able to create in reality for students, young people, what the Constitution meant. Many of her friends remember her fondly as B.J., and some of the students, more brave than others, called her that as well. But you are so right about what she meant to us, how she stood. In her first congressional campaign she said ``Many blacks are militant in their guts, but they act it out in different ways.'' She was that kind of person. I will not say woman or African-American. She clearly frustrated a lot of the groups, women, minorities, African-Americans, liberals. And I remember that voice saying, ``I do not want to be a symbol for anything.'' Harsh? I think not. It was simply what the gentlewoman said. She had a view of this country, and if there was something right to do, B.J. would be there doing it rightly under the Constitution. I think we can be so gratified that that kind of person lived, and in fact that she was true to her values to the very end. I see the gentleman from Connecticut, and I would be happy to yield a moment to my friend from Connecticut, Mr. Shays. Mr. SHAYS. It would be just a moment. I found myself walking through this Chamber and being captivated by your discussion of an extraordinarily great woman. I have found the most patriotic people in our black churches, and it always amazed me how the African-American community could be so patriotic, given the heritage that brought them to this magnificent country. And Barbara Jordan gave me more pride in our country than I think almost anyone else. You talk about what an extraordinary leader. I consider her an extraordinary teacher. I remember her in my early days, watching her as a new Member, and I was astounded by this woman. Now, I know the gentlewoman from Texas is from Texas, but people from Texas are different than anywhere else. Finding this black Texan talking, I was not first sure if she was a Texan first, or someone speaking for the black community first, or just someone speaking as a true American. I resolved my question mark. She was just a true American patriot who wanted to teach this American community a lot, and in the process she taught herself a lot. We learned so much from seeing her life. Her death is a tremendous loss. I just would conclude by saying to you, sometimes people say who would you have most liked to meet? Who would you most like to sit down with and just have a wonderful conversation? They are not actors, and I thought they are really not politicians. I remember a few people I would have liked to have had a discussion with. And when I learned that Barbara Jordan had passed away, I thought that was the woman, that was the person, I should have answered, because, boy, I would have loved to have sat down with her, like many of you have for many discussions, and just had that precious opportunity to talk with a great, great, great American. I thank you for letting me participate in this. I have been listening, and I have been captivated by what you all have been saying. Charlie, you always get me. So thank you for letting me participate and express my tremendous admiration for this great American. Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas. You are very kind for your words. Clearly, you might have been asking me the question of what was the intonation or the accent that the Congresswoman seemed to exhibit. I will tell you she was most proud of the fact that she debated the Harvard debate team and brought them to a draw. I think maybe she might have brought a bit of that tone from Boston University, but she was most proud she put Harvard in a draw, and she said ``That is a win.'' Maybe that is when she adopted that intonation from the New England States. Clearly she was a person who had a sense of humor. She had a deep belly laugh, as many said at the memorial service at Texas Southern University on Sunday. She clearly had a purpose. I am glad to hear you offer your admiration for her. I will add one point, as I bring the chairman of the Black Caucus to also commemorate and honor her, she said something quite humorous. We were in the midst, Congressman Rangel, of waiting on the Supreme Court's determination about these redistricts or districting. One of those seats happens to [[Page H828]] be one that the Senator Barbara Jordan drew. It is the 18th Congressional District. She was proud to say that she knew the law and she drew it within the law; and she drew it not to exclude, but to include. I would think if we just carried that message forward, we would settle all these lawsuits, because no one could deny anyone being included. She did it with the aplomb and the humor, but as well the points that you have offered as points of admiration. So I think she is a national hero for all of us, no matter what walk of life we came from, no matter if we were in the suburbs or urban centers. She also deflected anyone saying she was from a black ghetto. She said, ``When we grew up, we did not know we were poor and we didn't act like it.'' That is a challenge for our young people today in this country. So I appreciate you being here. Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in honor of Barbara Jordan, our distinguished colleague who recently passed. I had the privilege to serve with her in this body, and on the Judiciary and Government Operations Committees. The 6 years we served together gave me the fortunate opportunity to work with a true leader. I also want to thank the distinguished gentlewoman from Texas, Ms. Sheila Jackson-Lee, for calling this important special order. Barbara Jordan was one of the few Members of Congress whose influence was felt from the moment she arrived. Her powerful intellect and her logical approach to the legislative process made her formidable throughout her career. It is easy for me to remember that she influenced my decisions more frequently than I hers. I know many of my colleagues here tonight would agree with that statement. In addition to her incredible gift of oratory, she carefully reasoned her way through the end to what Government policy might best be for our country. Barbara dedicated her career to fighting for those who couldn't fight for themselves. As the first African-American woman elected from the South in the 20th century, she worked hard to continue the Federal protection of civil rights. She worked to improve the Voting Rights Act of 1965 by extending its merits to Hispanic- Americans, native Americans, and Asian-Americans. She was also the author of the Consumer Goods Pricing Act of 1975. Many will remember Barbara Jordan from her role in the Watergate hearings. Barbara's remarkable oratory, her passion for the Constitution and public service, and her commitment to the democratic processes helped guide the Nation during some of our most troubling and soul-searching days. She was a critical figure at a pivotal time for our Nation and for the House. She helped us see the way through a turbulent time. We cannot forget that Barbara Jordan was the first African-American and the first woman to serve as a keynote speaker at a Democratic National Convention when she spoke in 1976. She served as a keynote speaker again in New York at the 1992 Democratic Convention. Her words helped remind us, both times, why we were Democrats and what we needed to do to fulfill our commitment to working Americans. I will never forget Barbara Jordan. She did everything with unlimited passion and commitment and was one of the most thoughtful Members of Congress I have ever worked with. She touched the lives of thousands of Americans, and was a wonderful source of strength to everyone that met her. Mr. CLAY. Mr. Speaker, I rise to pay tribute to my dear departed friend and former colleague, the Honorable Barbara Jordan. Barbara will be remembered as a vibrant, dynamic force for good who touched our lives in a special way. Her sense of common decency and search for simple justice was heard everywhere she went and felt by the millions she met. Her overpowering self consumed our minds, our inner thoughts, and our consciences, and indeed inspired us onward and upward. Many who did not know Barbara, as some of us in Congress, will say that the world will never be the same without her. But I must admonish them that the world is not the same because of Barbara. She truly was a person who did make a difference. The Congressional Black Caucus honored Barbara Jordan for her devoted service in 1978. I had the privilege of paying tribute to her at the CBC Eighth Annual Awards Dinner. In my salute, I said: Tonight the Congressional Black Caucus presents its Special Awards to two outstanding members of our organization. My privilege, indeed my honor, is to acknowledge the contributions of one of them, Barbara Jordan. Barbara Jordan has been to the Congressional Black Caucus what Hubert Humphrey was to the Democratic Farmer's Labor Party in Minnesota, what Susan B. Anthony was to the suffrage movement, what Jackie Robinson was to baseball, what Sojourner Truth was to early freedom fighters. She has been our guiding light, our trailblazer. Barbara is what the E.F. Hutton commercial says--when she speaks, people listen. They listen not only in the halls of Congress and the inner sanctums of the Oval Office, but also in the towns and hamlets of America. They listen in the cities and the urban areas. They listen in the corporate board rooms and the living rooms. But even more important, they listen in the school rooms and the pool rooms. And what they hear is a beautiful black woman with pathos and passion, brilliantly articulating the omens of ill-fated clouds which hang so ominously over Western culture. They hear a voice so powerful, so awesome, so imposing that it cannot not be ignored and will never be silenced. What they hear is a voice verbalizing the hopes, frustrations, aspirations of millions who have no way themselves to effectively communicate with those who dictate the social, political and economic order. Barbara Jordan is Barbara Jordan because she refused to let modesty prevail over truth, because she has refused to accept this nation as it is, because she has demanded it become what it ought to be. In the words of Marvin Gaye, Barbara is devoted to an idea of ``saving the children and saving a world destined to die.'' In the words of Gladys Knight, Barbara is the ``best thing that ever happened'' to the Black Caucus. In the words of the Commodores, Barbara is ``once, twice, three times a lady.'' Tonight, we, the members of the CBC, proudly recognize a person who carved a niche in the hearts of the American public by her probing, penetrating questions during the impeachment hearings, a person who lifted the hearts of those Americans with her sterling oratory at the Democratic National Convention. Tonight, we pay homage to the drum majorette of justice and equality, the Black Rose of Texas, Barbara Jordan. A young girl lying on her death bed wrote a testimonial to her mother. She said, ``Try as we may, we cannot number our days. The best that we all can do as children of God is do our part to fill our days with things that count.'' Barbara, in that short interval between birth and death, filled those days with things that counted. Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I am honored now to be able to yield to the distinguished gentleman from New Jersey, someone who in his own political career certainly has exuded the principles of the late Barbara Jordan, and that is the chairperson of the Black Caucus, Donald Payne. Mr. PAYNE of New Jersey. I thank the gentlewoman for yielding. Let me commend the gentlewoman from Texas for bringing this special order tonight, and also to say that your leadership here in your year in the House is, I think, something in the tradition of Barbara Jordan. I know those are big shoes to fill, but you have brought a great deal of dignity and self-respect, a great deal of knowledge into our House, and you should be commended for that. Mr. Speaker, as chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, I am very pleased to participate in this special order, to join in this tribute to a very extraordinary American, whose service here in the U.S. House of Representatives earned her a national reputation, the Honorable Barbara Jordan. {time} 1900 A graduate of Boston University's school of law, Ms. Jordan served as administrative assistant to Harris County Judge Bill Elliot in the early 1960's. In 1966, she made history through her election as the first African-American since 1883 to serve in the Texas Senate and did an outstanding, credible job there. After winning reelection to that office, she achieved another historical first for the State of Texas in 1972, when she captured the seat to serve in the 18th District of Texas in the U.S. House of Representatives. Although she was a newcomer, a freshman, a Member of the House of Representatives during the tumultuous 93d Congress when the Watergate scandal unfolded, as you heard earlier, she gained national reputation and respect through her eloquent performance during the House Committee on the Judiciary impeachment hearings, which was chaired by my predecessor, Peter Rodino. Peter Rodino used to talk many hours about the Watergate investigation, but any time he would lecture about Watergate. He is currently a professor at the Seton Hall School of Justice, the law school in Newark that is named after him, the Peter Rodino School of Social Justice. He would talk about Barbara Jordan and her interpretation of the Constitution, her eloquence, the way when she spoke everyone listened, and I felt that [[Page H829]] I knew Barbara personally because of Congressman Rodino and his experience there with her. Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I know that my time is ending, and I am interested in the gentleman having the opportunity to conclude his remarks, and I would ask the gentleman from Pennsylvania, Mr. Weldon, my dear friend, as his hour begins, might he yield a few minutes for Chairman Payne to conclude and for me to conclude with one or two sentences? ____________________