Vernon Jordan Remembered
Civil rights icon, political power broker, and business executive Vernon Jordan passed away this week at the age of 85. A trailblazer, Jordon was an inspiration and illuminated a path for us to follow when it comes to striving for and achieving excellence in our community, in business, and in politics.
A close friend, adviser, and ally to both former President Bill Clinton and President Barack Obama, Jordan enjoyed a distinguished career which included his life’s work of fighting for civil rights and justice. His history of activism and legacy of service includes working with the NAACP, Southern Regional Council, the Voter Education Project, the United Negro College Fund, and the National Urban League. Jordan became the “whisperer” for many politicians with a finger on the pulse of political and social issues impacting our country. He would also leave his mark on the business world with major roles on Wall Street and in corporate America.
Jordan grew up in segregated Atlanta, living in the housing projects, and graduating with honors from David Tobias Howard High School. He earned his political science degree from DePauw University – where he was the only black person in his class and only one of five at the entire school. He graduated from Howard University School of Law and went into private practice. With his law credentials, Vernon would play a major role in 1961 at the University of Georgia, serving on the legal team that helped integrate the university and shepherding the admission of Charlayne Hunter (Gault) and Hamilton Holmes as their first African American students.
Many have offered condolences in his passing and cited Vernon’s work including Obama and Clinton. National Urban League President Marc Morial remembered Jordan as one of the “top transformative leaders” in civil rights, politics and business. “The nation has lost one of its greatest champions of racial and economic justice,” Morial said in a statement. “He was a transformational leader who brought the movement into a new era.