News • October 29, 2020

Honoring Barbara Jordan, American Hero

October is LGBTQ History Month, and ENC has used these final weeks before the election to highlight LGBTQ pioneers who have given their all to the ongoing fight for our lives.

With only five days before Election Day, it felt right to celebrate the one and only Barbara Jordan, a lawyer, educator and politician who remains an often unsung leader of the Civil Rights Movement.

Barbara Jordan was a woman of many political firsts. Fifty-four years ago, she made history as the first Black woman elected to the Texas state Senate and was later elected as the first Black woman representing any Southern district in Congress. An incredibly gifted orator, Barbara also had the honor of becoming the first Black female keynote speaker at the 1976 Democratic National Convention.

Barbara broke numerous political glass ceilings for Black women throughout the course of her lifetime. And though she remained publically closeted throughout most of her life, Barbara identified as a lesbian and had a domestic partner named Nancy Early for 30 years.

Because of the courage and strength of Civil Rights leaders like Barbara, we now live in a world where LGBTQ people can be their authentic selves while running for office, and not feel the need to closet themselves in order to be seen as valid leaders within the public eye. At Equality North Carolina, we fight for this belief system every day by supporting openly LGBTQ elected officials and creating pipelines for community members who want to serve in political office.

We would never be able to do this work without the life and legacy of people like Barbara Jordan. As we move through this election cycle, we'd like to invite you to join us in this fight and stay up-to-date on the ways you can help support openly LGBTQ and pro-equality legislators as they work to make North Carolina a more equitable place for us all.

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