Throughout February, Democrats have been celebrating the lives of African American heroes for Black History Month. Icons like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and lesser known pioneers, such as Barbara Jordan:
In 1966 Barbara Jordan became the first African American elected to the Texas legislature since Reconstruction. During her Texas Senate tenure, she had many firsts, including becoming the first African American woman ever elected, the first African American to chair a major committee (Labor and Management Relations), the first freshman named to the Texas Legislative Council, and the first African American to serve as president pro tempore.
In 1972, Jordan became the first Southern African American woman elected to the U.S. Congress, representing the newly drawn Texas 18th Congressional District. As a member of House of Representatives, she championed the causes that represented her life struggle, including African American issues and the plight of poor and disadvantaged communities.
From 1885 to 1900, Terrell served his community as an attorney, teacher, school principal, and as chief clerk in the office of the auditor of the U.S. Treasury. In 1901 President Theodore Roosevelt, on the advice of Booker T. Washington, appointed Terrell to serve as a justice of the peace in Washington, D.C., making him the first African American to hold this position. In 1910 President William H. Taft nominated Terrell to be judge of the Municipal Court of the District of Columbia. Despite facing race-based opposition by many in the Senate, he was confirmed to become the first African American to preside in a federal court.