Congressional Black Caucus members remember the life and legacy of former Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson

She opened doors for me,” said U.S. Rep. Jasmine Crockett, D-Texas.

Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) members are remembering the life and legacy of former U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Texas, who passed away at 89 on Sunday.

U.S. Rep. Jasmine Crockett, who was elected to Johnson’s 30th Congressional District seat in Texas last year, told theGrio,We all benefited from Eddie Bernice standing up and deciding to do something that was unprecedented.”

U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson,
FILE – U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Texas, introduces state Sen. Royce West at a rally where West announced his bid to run for the U.S. Senate, in Dallas, Monday, July 22, 2019. Johnson, a nurse from Texas who helped bring hundreds of millions of federal dollars to the Dallas area as the region’s most powerful Democrat, died Sunday, Dec. 31, 2023. She was 88. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez, File)

Johnson was a trailblazer who broke barriers in 1992 when she became the first registered nurse elected to Congress and the first Black woman elected to Congress to represent Dallas.

Crockett said that Johnson’s tenure as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives was “monumental.”

She opened doors for me that allowed me to become the 22nd Black woman elected to the Texas House, along with so many of my colleagues that I consider to be mentors and friends,” she shared.

It’s important for little Black and brown girls to see other women of color serving in elected office,” the freshman congresswoman added. “Regardless of how many people tell them what they can’t do, they can see with their own two eyes that they can do it.”

Rep. Jasmine Crockett, D-Texas,
UNITED STATES – NOVEMBER 13: Rep.-elect Jasmine Crockett, D-Texas, speaks during a news conference with newly elected incoming members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus at the AFL-CIO building in Washington, D.C., on Sunday, November 13, 2022. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

During Johnson’s time in Congress, she served as the chair of the CBC from 2001 to 2003. While in office, she strongly advocated expanding STEM opportunities to minority students.

CBC Chairman Steven Horsford, D-Nev., said in a statement obtained by theGrio that Johnson was a “trailblazer who served her constituents and her country honorably in the U.S. Congress for 30 years.”

“Congresswoman Johnson was instrumental in delivering hundreds of millions of dollars towards revitalizing transportation in Texas – most notably for the Southern Gateway Project and the DART Rail System, for which Dallas’ DART and Amtrak rail center was renamed the Eddie Bernice Johnson Union Station in her honor,” said Horsford. 

He continued, “Congresswoman Johnson left her mark on the U.S. Congress as the first African American and the first female Chair of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology and Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Research and Science Education.”

Johnson served in the House for three decades and stepped down in January 2023 at 87 to hand the baton to Crockett.

CBC Chairman Steven Horsford,
WASHINGTON, DC – SEPTEMBER 23: Steven Horsford speaks onstage at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation annual Legislative Conference National Town Hall on September 23, 2023 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images for Congressional Black Caucus Annual Legislative Conference)

“She had this fear of leaving the House and leaving the district…not being tended to by the right person who didn’t have either the skill set or the heart to really do the work,” recalled Crockett. 

I think it’s important that other elected leaders look at what she did, which is to make sure that she did a handoff of sorts to someone…who she felt like would and could do the job.”

Crockett said she believes she and Johnson “have a shared passion for our community and [are] truly willing to do right by them.”

She added, “We were willing to and had always been willing to do the work to better the lives of our constituents.”

Recommended Stories

Never miss a beat: Get our daily stories straight to your inbox with theGrio’s newsletter.