Texas congresswoman Barbara Jordan (1936-1996) rose to the national stage from Houston’s largely African-American Fifth Ward, becoming a public defender of the U.S. Constitution and a leading presence in Democratic Party politics for two decades. She was the first black woman elected to the Texas state senate and the first black Texan in Congress. As a member of the House Judiciary Committee, she gave the influential opening speech of Richard Nixon’s 1974 impeachment hearings. She retired after three terms in Congress to become a professor and policy advocate. Read more here and here.