Skip to main content

Teach your child about influential African-American Houstonians

Barbara Jordan is a very important African-American from Houston Texas.
Barbara Jordan is a very important African-American from Houston Texas.
photo by Amber Branch

Barbara Charline Jordan an extraordinary political icon, was born February 21, 1936 in Houston, Texas. Jordan graduated from Texas Southern University (Houston) in 1956 magna cum laude and went on to receive honorary doctorate degrees from 25 colleges and universities. She is a woman of many firsts – the first African American woman to serve as administrative assistant to a County Judge of Harris County. In 1966 she became the first African-American woman elected to the Texas Senate (also the first African-American since 1883). On June 10, 1972 she served as governor for a day (a Texas tradition), making her the first African-American woman governor in the history of the United States. Jordan died January 17, 1996 of complications from a chronic case of pneumonia. On January 20, 1996 she became the first African-American women to be buried at the Texas State cemetery, an honor reserved for Texas heroes.

Janet Emerson Bashen is first African American female to hold a patent for a software invention. The patented software, LinkLine, is a web-based application for EEO claims intake and tracking, claims management, document management and numerous reports.
Bashen attended Alabama A&M until she married and relocated to Houston, Texas, where she now resides. She also received a degree in legal studies and government from The University of Houston, and postgraduate studies at Rice University’s Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Administration.

Singer, songwriter, fashion designer, model, and actress, Beyonce Giselle Knowles was born September 4, 1981 in Houston, Texas. She is most famous for her role as the lead singer in the Grammy Award winning group Destiny’s Child. Her debut solo album, 2003 's Dangerously in Love , topped both the R&B and Billboard 200 charts in the U.S., as well as the main album charts in Canada and the United Kingdom . Beyoncé has won eight Grammy Awards — five for her solo work, and three as a member of Destiny's Child. Knowles’ list of achievements includes: the first female artist to have a number-one album and a number-one single in the U.S. and the U.K. simultaneously. She is the only African-American female to win the ASCAP Pop-songwriter award, and second female (the first is Diane Warren).
She also won over thirty industry awards for her solo efforts, including five Grammys, four MTV Video Music Awards , and a Brit Award for Best International Female Solo Artist..