In this news segment for Houston's KPRC-TV, then Texas State Senator Barbara Jordan comments on state law prohibiting the sale of alcohol on Election Day. Broadcast on November 3, the segment aired two days before the presidential election on November 5. Jordan classifies the legislation as government "hand-holding" that seeks to solve a nonexistent problem. Legislation banning the sale of alcohol on Election Day dates back to Prohibition. Such laws were designed to prevent the trade of free booze for votes, a practice that supposedly dates back to the 18th century. Texas has since repealed its law.
Barbara Jordan was born in Houston's Fifth Ward in 1936, the daughter of a Baptist minister and domestic worker. Jordan attended Texas Southern University where she was a member of the debate team; she was the first woman to travel with the team, and along with debate partner Otis King, integrated tournaments in the South, consistently sweeping competitions. Jordan went on attend Boston University School of Law, finishing in 1959.
After practicing private law in Houston, again with Otis King, she entered the political arena. Jordan was the first African American elected to the Texas Senate since 1883 and the first southern black female elected to the United States House of Representatives. In 1976, Jordan was the first African-American woman to deliver the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention, a speech that is still lauded as one of the best in modern history.
After retiring from politics in 1979, Jordan taught ethics at the University of Texas at Austin's Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs. Among many other honors, Jordan was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1994. In 1996, Barbara Jordan died of complications from pneumonia, a result of her battles with both multiple sclerosis and leukemia. She rests in the Texas State Cemetery, the first African-American woman to be buried there.