Barbara Jordan: Speaking the Truth with Eloquent Thunder

By Max Sherman | Go to book overview

THE SPOTLIGHT AFTER CONGRESS

IN I992, SIXTEEN YEARS AFTER HER HISTORIC I976 KEYNOTE address, Professor Barbara Jordan returned to New York City to keynote another Democratic National Convention. The tone of this speech was more somber, but her prophetic words again seemed to be prepared for the year 2008. Here are just three exemplary excerpts:

Friends of the Democratic Party, the American Dream is not dead.
It is not dead! It is gasping for breath, but it is not dead. We can
applaud that statement and know that there is no time to waste
because the American Dream is slipping away from too many peo-
ple. It is slipping away from too many black and brown mothers
and their children. The American Dream is slipping away from the
homeless—of every color and of every sex. It's slipping away from
those immigrants living in communities without water and sewage
systems. The American Dream is slipping away from those persons
who have jobs, jobs which no longer will pay the benefits which
will enable them to live and thrive because America seems to be
better at building war equipment to sit in warehouses and rot than
in building decent housing. It's slipping away. It's slipping away.

“E Pluribus Unum” — “from many, one.” It was a good idea when
[the country] was founded, and it's a good idea today.

We must change that deleterious environment of the eighties, that
environment which was characterized by greed, and hatred, and
selfishness, and mega-mergers, and debt overhang. Change it to
what? Change that environment of the eighties to an environment
which is characterized by a devotion to the public interest, public
service, tolerance, and love. Love. Love. Love.

-41-

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