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Barbara Jordan was born on February 21 1936 in Houston Texas She had 2 sisters and her parents were Reverend Benjamin a Baptist minister and Arlyn Jordan Her mother was a great orator or speaker but did not pursue a career and instead devoted herself to being a wife and mother Her mother was the most eloquent articulate person I ever heard If she had been a man she would have been a preacher Barbara inherited her great oratorical skills from her father and mother Barbaras grandfather John Ed Patten introduced her to literature and philosophy and helped her improve her speaking skills She attended Phillis Wheatley High School and participated in debates and public speaking engagements She was the first place winner at the National Ushers Convention Oratorical Contest in Chicago Illinois Barbara received the Girl of the Year Award and became a well-known and respected public speaker throughout Texas In 1952 Barbara enrolled in Texas Southern University TSU Her tutor was Dr Thomas Freeman the Universitys debate coach She attributed much of my success as a speaker to him I thought I had superb diction and that no one would need to correct anything Thomas Freeman found a flaw and worked on it until it was corrected I cannot overestimate the impact and influence Dr Freeman had on my life In 1956 She graduated from TSU with honors After graduating from TSU She attended Boston University Law School and graduated in 1959 Barbara passed both the Massachusetts and Texas bar examinations and set up a law practice in my parents kitchen After saving enough money she moved her firm to the Fifth Ward an African American section of Houston In 1966 Barbara ran for the Texas Senate and won the Democratic Primary with over 60 percent of the votes She became one of two African Americans in the state legislature As for working with the Texas politicians in the senate Barbara has said
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