Barbara Charline Jordan (February 21, 1936 – January 17, 1996) was an American politician and a leader of the Civil Rights movement. A Democrat, she was the first African American elected to the Texas Senate after Reconstruction, the first southern black female elected to the United States House of Representatives, and the first African- American woman to deliver a keynote address at a Democratic National Convention. She received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, among numerous other honors. She was a member of the Peabody Awards Board of Jurors from 1978 to 1980. On her death, she became the first African-American woman to be buried in the Texas State Cemetery. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)
A nation is formed by the willingness of each of us to share in the responsibility for upholding the common good.
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.
But this is the great danger America faces. That we will cease to be one nation and become instead a collection of interest groups: city against suburb, region against region, individual against individual. Each seeking to satisfy private wants.
Do not call for black power or green power. Call for brain power.
Education remains the key to both economic and political empowerment.
Fairness is an across-the-board requirement for all our interactions with each other ...Fairness treats everybody the same.
For all of its uncertainty, we cannot flee the future.
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.
I believe that women have a capacity for understanding and compassion which man structurally does not have, does not have it because he cannot have it. He's just incapable of it.
I felt somehow for many years that George Washington and Alexander Hamilton just left me out by mistake. But through the process of amendment, interpretation, and court decision, I have finally been included in 'We, the people.'
I felt somehow for many years that George Washington and Alexander Hamilton just left me out by mistake. But through the process of amendment, interpretation, and court decision, I have finally been included in ?We, the people?.
If the society today allows wrongs to go unchallenged, the impression is created that those wrongs have the approval of the majority.
If we promise as public officials, we must deliver. If we as public officials propose, we must produce.
If you're going to play the game properly, you'd better know every rule.
It is reason, and not passion, which must guide our deliberations, guide our debate, and guide our decision.
Just remember the world is not a playground but a schoolroom. Life is not a holiday but an education. One eternal lesson for us all: to teach us how better we should love.
Let each person do his or her part. If one citizen is unwilling to participate, all of us are going to suffer. For the American idea, though it is shared by all of us, is realized in each one of us.
More is required of public officials than slogans and handshakes and press releases. More is required. We must hold ourselves strictly accountable. We must provide the people with a vision of the future.
One thing is clear to me: We, as human beings, must be willing to accept people who are different from ourselves.
The American dream is not dead. It is gasping for breath, but it is not dead.
The imperative is to define what is right and do it.
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.
We are a party of innovation. We do not reject our traditions, but we are willing to adapt to changing circumstances, when change we must. We are willing to suffer the discomfort of change in order to achieve a better future.
We are a people trying not only to solve the problems of the present: unemployment, inflation... but we are attempting on a larger scale to fulfill the promise of America.
We call ourselves public servants but I'll tell you this: we as public servants must set an example for the rest of the nation. It is hypocritical for the public official to admonish and exhort the people to uphold the common good.
We cannot improve on the system of government handed down to us by the founders of the Republic, but we can find new ways to implement that system and realize our destiny.
We have a positive vision of the future founded on the belief that the gap between the promise and reality of America can one day be finally closed. We believe that.
We have made mistakes. In our haste to do all things for all people, we did not foresee the full consequences of our actions. And when the people raised their voices, we didn't hear. But our deafness was only a temporary condition, and not an irreversible condition.
We must exchange the philosophy of excuse- what I am is beyond my control for the philosophy of responsibility.
We must not become the new puritans and reject our society. We must address and master the future together. It can be done if we restore the belief that we share a sense of national community, that we share a common national endeavor. It can be done.
We want to be in control of our lives. Whether we are jungle fighters, craftsmen, company men, gamesmen, we want to be in control. And when the government erodes that control, we are not comfortable.
What the people want is very simple- they want an America as good as its promise.
(January 17 is also the birthday of Benjamin Franklin.)