“The civil rights movement called America to put a giant mirror before it and lot at itself. I believe that the movement said to America, ‘Look at what you have been saying to us black people all of these years. Look what you have been trying to sell as the bill of goods for America. Look at that and then ask yourselves, have you really done it? Do the black people who were born on this soil, who are American citizens, do they really feel this is the land of opportunity, the land of the free, the home of the brave, all that great stuff?’

And when America looked into that giant mirror and heard these questions, the drumbeat- that’s what the movement was, this drumbeat of questions- America had to say, ‘No, I really haven’t, as a country, lived up to what I’ve said this country would be for you.’ And so the civil rights movement was a time of requiring that America be honest in its promises. And that was the goodness of the movement.

I am telling the young people that if you’re dissatisfied and I don’t think they can be students in a school of public affairs and no be dissatisfied if you are dissatisfied with the way things are, then you have got to resolve to change them. I am telling them to get out there and occupy these positions in government and make the decisions, do the job and make it work for you….

There seems to be a chilling of opportunity rather than an enlivening and enhancing of opportunity. But to me, that should just be the spark that energizes you to get out there and do things.

How do you communicate to young people that you do better, your opportunity is expanded and enhanced if you’re educated? That’s the message I know many teachers out there are trying to deliver now, but it’s a drumbeat which must continue. The drop-out rate is criminal.”

In 1966 Barbara Jordan was elected to the Texas Senate, she became the first black senator to sit in that body since 1883. In 1972 she was elected to the US House of Representatives and served three terms. She was a professor at the University of Texas in Austin.

“I define morality as adherence to the Golden Rule, ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.’ If that is one’s code of behavior, in my opinion, that person is moral. That is my code.

Texas is more than a place. It is a frame of mind. A Texan believes that the individual is powerful. Texas has that rugged individualism. It may not be polished, may not be smooth, and it may not be silky, but it is there. I believe that I get from the soil and the spirit of Texas the feeling that I, as an individual, can accomplish whatever I want to and that there are no limits, that you can just keep going, just keep soaring. I like that spirit.”

Barbara Jordan (February 21, 1936-January 17, 1996), I Dream a World: Portraits of Black Women Who Changed America

The Drumbeat Must Continue

Beat on– Don’t stop

Pick up your drum and beat the hell out of it

Join the circle, can’t you hear it

Steady storied hands beat

Beating to the rhythm of why and how long

Beat on– Don’t stop

Pick up your drum and beat the hell out of it

Let the waves resound in the air

Cause as long as there is a dance

There is a need for the drum

Beat on- Dance on- Don’t stop

Pick up your drum and beat the hell out of it

by: lar