Black LGBT Pioneers You Should Know

As Black History Month comes to a close, here are a few people whose groundbreaking work should be celebrated all year.

BY Michelle Garcia

February 28 2013 7:00 AM ET


Rep. Barbara Jordan
Texas’s Barbara Jordan, the first African-American woman elected to Congress, broke numerous glass ceilings throughout her storied career, but she remained in the closet the entire time. Even before winning her Congressional seat, President Lyndon B. Johnson, a fellow Texan, invited Jordan, then a lawyer and state legislator, to the White House to preview his 1967 Civil Rights agenda. After four years in Congress, Jordan gave the keynote address to the Democratic National Convention in 1976. After a battle with multiple sclerosis in 1979, Jordan reentered public work, most notably her appointment to the Commission on Immigration Reform by President Bill Clinton in 1994. After her death at 59 in 1996, The Advocate investigated the life of Jordan and longtime companion Nancy Earl.

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