Desire to Serve

The Autobiography of Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson

978-1-57441-950-4 Cloth
6 x 9 x 0 in
464 pp. 35 b&w illus. Notes.
Pub Date: 07/08/2024


  • Cloth $24.95

Desire to Serve is the autobiography of Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (1934–2023), a thirty-year member of the United States House of Representatives, in her words as told to Cheryl Brown Wattley. It chronicles Johnson growing up in segregated Waco, Texas; attending St. Mary’s nursing school in South Bend, Indiana; working at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Dallas, Texas, as a chief psychiatric nurse; serving in the Texas House; being appointed as the regional director for Health, Education, and Welfare; being elected as a Texas state senator; and serving thirty years as a congressional representative from North Texas. For each of these positions, she was either the first African American or first African American woman to hold the position.

Johnson’s narrative of the duties and responsibilities of elected officials gives an insider’s view of the way government works—or doesn’t work. Highlights of Johnson’s political career include her support of NAFTA and the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act; the failure of the Health Security Act; her support of the Patient Recovery and Affordable Care Act, as well as the CHIPS-Science Act; her service as the chairwoman of the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology; and her membership on the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.

Published by University of North Texas Press