Barbara Jordan

What people want is simple. They want an America as good as its promise.
- Barbara Jordan, Commencement Address, Harvard University, June 1977

Frequently quoted by Senator Nina Turner, National Campaign Co-Chair of Bernie Sanders’ Presidential Campaign.

Maybe you remember hearing the phrase: “Maybe, just maybe.” It wasn’t so long ago. You heard it in Barack Obama’s inauguration speech. Barbara Jordan said those words in 1977. They are in the last line of her 1977 Harvard University Commencement Address.

Barbara Jordan was talking about the environment and “thinly disguised racism1 and elitism which is some kind of trickle down economics” in 1992 and before.

We will change in order to satisfy the present, in order to satisfy the future – but we will not die. We will change, but we will not die. From what to what? Why not change from a Party with a reputation of tax and spend to one with a reputation of investment and growth? Change. Change. A growth economy is a must. We can grow the economy and sustain an improved environment at the same time. When the economy is growing and we are taking care of our air and soil and water, we all prosper. And we can do all of that.
When I say something like that, I certainly do not mean the thinly disguised racism and elitism which is some kind of trickle-down economics. I will tell you the kind of economy I’m talking about. I’m talking about an economy where a young black woman or a young black man, born in the 5th Ward of Houston – my town – or South Central Los Angeles. I mean an economy where a young black woman or man from the Fifth Ward in Houston or South Central Los Angeles, or a young person in the colonias of the lower Rio Grande valley – I’m talking about an economy where those persons can go to a public school, learn the skills that will enable her or him to prosper.
- Barbara Jordan, 1992 Democratic National Convention Keynote Address

Listen to Barbara Jordan’s speech in Congress on the impeachment of Richard Nixon. Most of us weren’t around, or weren’t old enough to have heard this speech, but now hear how similar the 2019 impeachment process is with the Nixon impeachment in this speech. The crimes are not the same, but the process is:


Barbara Jordan speaking in Congress at the impeachment of Richard Nixon