Mississippi Valley State University

July 25, 2016

University News

Alumnus Sen. David Jordan Publishes Memoir

September 02, 2014

Running from a life of farming, led to a remarkable career for Mississippi State Senator David Jordan. After his early years of being mistreated and watching injustices, Jordan vowed to make a difference and never leave the state of Mississippi.

He recently published his memoir, ‘"From the Mississippi Cotton Fields to the State Senate," which details his life as a youth growing up during the Great Depression to his current status as a senator, city council member, and founder of the Greenwood Voter’s League.

Jordan’s passion for reaching back and inspiring a new generation led to the conception of his memoir. “I’ve come through so much, I decided that rather than having somebody else write my memoir, who would put a different spin on it, I would write it,” said Jordan.  “I know what I’ve gone through and how difficult it has been. I wanted people to have the raw information as it has happened to me.  On the other hand, I want them to look at me as being a success because I have accomplished quite a bit despite what has happened to me. 

Providing opportunities for African Americans has been the motivation for him throughout his career as an educator, advocate, and legislator. “One thing I want individuals to know is that in spite of  you being black, if you work hard, stay focused, and persevere - you can be a success,” said Jordan.  “It appears that most young people seem to have given up and believe the odds are against them, which they are in many instances, but we are a tough people but in spite of that we can still be successful.  A made up mind and giving God some of your time, you can make it.”

He describes his childhood as tough. As a child, he began going to the cotton field at age 2 1/2. Back then, he was only resting and attempting to help his parents pick cotton as a pastime. But, by the age of 6 he was picking his share of the popular Mississippi crop.

Jordan entered school at the age of seven at Traveler's Rest Missionary Baptist Church. School was held from December to April which was the offseason for sharecroppers.  The church received its name for being a rest stop for steamboat workers.  It was located right off the Yazoo River.

After high school, Jordan entered Mississippi Valley State University. He remembers Augusta White, who was affectionately known as Momma White, giving him a $3 credit for a lab fee during his freshman year. “If it wasn’t for Valley, I wouldn’t have gotten an education,” said Jordan.

Once he completed his undergraduate studies, he began teaching in the public school system. During this time, Jordan earned a Master of Science degree in chemistry from the University of Wyoming.

A champion for civil rights in the state of Mississippi, he sued several local and state governments to gain better opportunities for African Americans. Jordan began the Greenwood Voter’s League in 1966 to assist African Americans with securing jobs. “Once you left college, you were either a teacher or a preacher, you would not get hired in any other position,” Jordan said.  “Now, other areas are open so more blacks can stay around. The problem now is getting a good salary.” 

Jordan continues his fight for African Americans. As new issues arise, he steadfastly approaches each as he did in his younger years.