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Memorable Quotes from Barbara Jordan

Written by Claire Ronner.

Barbara Jordan’s booming voice and unparalleled oratorical skills cemented her place among the great speakers of our history. Known for her inspiring words, Jordan spoke for commencements, conferences, keynote addresses, and news articles. Here are a few of our favorite quotes from the former state Senator.

"A spirit of harmony can only survive if each of us remembers, when bitterness and self-interest seem to prevail, that we share a common destiny." Keynote Address, Democratic National Convention, July 12, 1976

"What the people want is simple. They want an America as good as its promise." Harvard University Commencement Address, June 16, 1977

"The majority of the American people still believe that every single individual in this country is entitled to just as much respect, just as much dignity, as every other individual." Speaking at a symposium hosted by the University of Texas at Austin and the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library, May 3-5, 1990

"I have faith in young people because I know the strongest emotions which prevail are those of love and caring and belief and tolerance." Article in On Campus, February 14, 1994

"How do we create a harmonious society out of so many kinds of people? The key is tolerance—the one value that is indispensable in creating community."

"One thing is clear to me: We, as human beings, must be willing to accept people who are different from ourselves." In "All Together Now," an article from Sesame Street Parents, July/August, 1994

“I get from the soil and spirit of Texas the feeling that I, as an individual, can accomplish whatever I want to, and that there are no limits, that you can just keep going, just keep soaring. I like that spirit.” From “Let me tell you what I’ve learned: Texas Wisewomen Speak” by PJ Pierce, UT Press, 2002

Visit the Barbara Jordan Forum site for more quotes, or browse her personal papers at the Barbara Jordan Archives at the Department of Special Collections in the Robert James Terry Library on Texas Southern University’s campus in Houston. Call 713/313-4416.

See related: The Great Texas Orator and Barbara Jordan Remembered

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