Actress Portrays Late Civil Rights Leader & Texas Congresswoman | KCUR

Actress Portrays Late Civil Rights Leader & Texas Congresswoman

Barbara Jordan was a lawyer and educator who was a congresswoman from 1972 to 1978 , the first African American congresswoman from the deep south and the first woman ever elected to the Texas Senate.

Although she acquired a reputation as an effective legislator, Jordan did not become a national figure until 1974, when her participation in the hearings held by the House Judiciary Committee on the impeachment of Pres. Richard M. Nixon was televised nationwide. Jordan's keynote address at the 1976 Democratic National Convention confirmed her reputation as one of the most commanding and articulate public speakers of her era.

In the final portion of Tuesday’s Up to Date, Steve Kraske talks with actress Saundra McClain about her portrayal of Jordan in a play titled Barbara Jordan: A Rendezvous with Destiny. 

COMING UP: The Kansas City Theater Foundation presents its inaugural production, Barbara Jordan: A Rendezvous with Destiny on February 24 and 25 at the Gem Theater in Kansas City’s 18th and Vine District. Tickets are $45 and $25 for Friday and Saturday, respectively, and are available through Ticketmaster.

Saundra McClain was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and attended Temple University.  Walking home from school one day, she was picked out in a crowd to appear in the Sidney Poitier film, The Lost Man.  Three months later she boarded a train to New York and never looked back.

While working at NBC as Assistant Talent Coordinator for Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show, she studied her craft.  Now with over 35 years broad-based theatrical experience, she has worked in all aspects of theater, as a performing artist, writer, arts consultant, teacher and motivational speaker.

Ms. McClain is a proud grandmother.  She currently resides in California and serves as the Artist-in-Residence at the Ensemble


Company in Santa Barbara, where she recently directed the Fantastiks.  She is also an ensemble member of the Antaeus Theatre Company and a lifetime member of the Actors Studio.  She is a member of SDC, SAG, AFTRA and ASCAP.