Barbara Jordan: Speaking the Truth with Eloquent Thunder

By Max Sherman | Go to book overview

PREFACE

This book is not about “Who was Barbara Jordan?” but rather “Who is Barbara Jordan?” and what does she have to say to us in the twenty-first century?”

Barbara Jordan was my friend and colleague for twenty-five years. We served together in the Texas Senate and worked together for thirteen years at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin. Barbara died on January 17, 1996, and is buried in the Texas State Cemetery in Austin, Texas.

At a motel in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on the morning of August 1, 2004, while on a drive from Texas to Montana, I awoke with a clear sense of a message from Barbara Jordan: Max, you have read my speeches. You teach my course on “Ethics and Political Values. “You have spoken on my behalf many times. You are completing our book based on the ethics course. In the election seasons of this new century, I have something to say. Get off your duff and help me say it.

Years before, on the floor of the Texas Senate, Senator Barbara Jordan was quietly explaining a bill. I sat only two seats behind her but could not hear her. Without going through the presiding officer, I spoke directly to her, “Barbara, I can't hear you.” With that magnificent voice that many of us called “the Voice of God,” she looked me squarely in the eye and said emphatically, “Max, you'll hear me when I want you to hear me.”

Time ran out for the 2004 elections, but in this 2008 election season, Barbara wants all who will to listen and to hear her.

And Barbara also wants to do some preaching.

At her funeral in the sanctuary of Good Hope Missionary Baptist Church in Houston, her pastor, D. Z. Cofield, presided. Knowing that he was speaking to a national television audience

-xi-

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