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History: Closeted Lesbian Rep. Barbara Jordan Delivered Democratic Keynote in 1976

History: Closeted Lesbian Rep. Barbara Jordan Delivered Democratic Keynote in 1976

by Karen Ocamb on September 4, 2012

President Barack Obama was 15 years old in 1976 when Texas Rep. Barbara Jordan became the first African American woman to deliver a keynote address at the Democratic National Convention – where some had hoped she would have been the vice-presidential candidate to nominee Jimmy Carter. Many had been mesmerized by Jordan’s remarks during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on July 25, 1974 when she explained why she would vote for the impeachment of President Richard M. Nixon in the Watergate scandal; Nixon resigned on Aug. 9 before the House could vote. I was only after Jordan died Jan. 17, 1996, when the Houston Chronicle referred to her almost 30-year relationship with Nancy Earl, that most Americans learned that Jordan was a lesbian. The Advocate later went into more detail.  Here is an excerpt from that convention speech in advance of the night when First Lady Michelle Obama will urge Americans to re-elect her husband as President of the United States.

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