Shirley Franklin, the mayor of Atlanta from 2002 to 2010, will deliver the keynote address at the 17th Annual Barbara Jordan Forum luncheon Feb. 19. The talk is the kickoff to a week of student-led activities honoring Barbara Jordan, the late congresswoman and LBJ School professor.
Franklin, who was the first African American woman to be elected mayor of a major city in the South, joined the LBJ School of Public Affairs in January as the Barbara Jordan Visiting Professor in Ethics and Political Values.
“We are so very pleased that Mayor Franklin will be delivering this year’s keynote address,” says Robert Hutchings, dean of the LBJ School. “As one of the nation’s most respected former mayors, Shirley is a fitting choice to be the keystone for our celebration of the life and legacy of Barbara Jordan — one of our country’s most distinguished public servants and a cherished member of our LBJ community.”
The Barbara Jordan Forum is designed to highlight Jordan’s lifetime of significant contributions to society as a politician, policymaker, activist and educator. Jordan joined the LBJ School of Public Affairs in 1979 as a faculty member and remained a beloved teacher and mentor until her death in 1996. That same year, students created a forum in her honor.
“I am honored to provide remarks because I believe that Barbara Jordan saw the hope of the republic and the promise of America in the eyes of the students she taught and inspired here and around the world,” Franklin says. As a visiting professor, Franklin will teach in the areas of ethics and political values, city government, sustainable urban development and the role of women in politics. She will also participate in lectures and dialogues on important public issues and play a leading role in encouraging students from under-represented communities to choose careers in public service. Franklin will also be instrumental in the creation of a new urban management program at the school.
The theme for the week, chosen by students, is “See the Change: Pressing Towards Equality of Outcomes,” based on a quote by Jordan from her historic keynote address to the 1976 Democratic Convention. “We are a people in search of a national community, attempting to fulfill our national purpose, to create and sustain a society in which all of us are equal,” Jordan said 37 years ago. “We cannot improve on the system of government, handed down to us by the founders of the Republic, but we can find new ways to implement that system and to realize our destiny.”
“Barbara Jordan was an advocate for equality and possessed a zeal for unifying communities for the good of the nation,” said Garry Davis, one of four student co-chairs organizing the forum. “In honoring her legacy, I hope that we can continue in her footsteps of engaging all voices on the issues facing our nation and to remind communities that together we can do more than what we can do apart.”
“Policy, Politics and Political Values with Shirley Franklin” (LBJ Journal podcast interview with Shirley Franklin)