"I AM NOT GOING TO SIT HERE AND BE AN IDLE SPECTATOR IN THE… DESTRUCTION OF THE CONSTITUTION": FIRST EDITION OF BARBARA JORDAN'S SELF-PORTRAIT, BOLDLY SIGNED BY JORDAN AND CO-AUTHOR HEARON
JORDAN, Barbara and HEARON, Shelby. Barbara Jordan. A Self-Portrait. Garden City: Doubleday, 1979. Octavo, original half tan cloth, original dust jacket. $750.
First edition of the 1979 memoir of Barbara Jordan, "one of American politics' pioneer black women," boldly signed by Jordan and co-author Hearon, featuring Jordan's electrifying statement on the impeachment of President Nixon.
Jordan "was one of American politics' pioneer black women. In 1966 she was elected as the first black state Senator in Texas, and went on to be the first woman and first black elected to Congress from Texas. In 1976, she was the first black woman to deliver a keynote address at the Democratic National Convention, riveting her audience on national television" (New York Times). With Nixon facing impeachment, Jordan, in her first term in Congress, was faced with a decision. "On the night of July 25, 1974, the second night of the Judiciary Committee's proceedings, her turn came. She leaned forward and called for impeachment. In that speech she said: 'We, the people. It is a very eloquent beginning. But when that document was completed on the 17th of September in 1787, I was not included in that We, the people. I felt somehow for many years that George Washington and Alexander Hamilton just left me out by mistake. But through the process of amendment, interpretation and court decision, I have finally been included in We, the people.' She went on to say, 'My faith in the Constitution is whole, it is complete, it is total, and I am not going to sit here and be an idle spectator to the diminution, the subversion, the destruction of the Constitution'" (Washington Post). Jordan's Self-Portrait covers her early life in the Jim Crow South and concludes at Harvard in 1977, where she became the first "black woman to give the Harvard commencement address." Jordan died in 1996 after a long struggle with multiple sclerosis. Co-authored with Shelby Hearon. "First Edition" stated on copyright page. With eight pages of photographic illustrations. With laid-in invitation to a reception for Jordan and Hearon sponsored by a Texas bookseller and "Friends of the Lyndon B. Johnson Library," postmarked year of publication; trace of its removal to front pastedown.
Book fine; tiny chip to spine end of bright about-fine dust jacket.