When Barbara Jordan died in 1996, the headline of her obituary in The New York Times read, “Her Voice Stirred the Nation.” Born to a modest family in Houston, Jordan defied the odds by becoming the first black woman to serve in the Texas Senate after Reconstruction. In the summer of 1974, during the Watergate hearings, she garnered national attention when she delivered a captivating speech denouncing the President’s action; artist Donald Moffett, a fellow native Texan, was one of the many riveted by Jordan’s address.

In 2001, Moffett hired a photographer to capture the yearbookstyle photographs of members of the Texas State Senate on view in the Capitol’s rotunda—making no alterations to the original images. (The small children in this portrait are grandchildren of state senate members—not artistic embellishments.) Moffett’s reframing of these historical documents suggests a desire for us to pay closer attention to what they might reveal. As the lone woman and sole African American, Jordan’s smiling cameo stands out starkly amidst her Senate colleagues, whose gender and race are as uniform as the coats and ties they wear.