Vernon Jordan, a notable civil rights activist and an adviser to President Bill Clinton has died. The family said that Mr. Jordan passed away peacefully surrounded by family and loved ones.
Jordan was born August 15, 1935, in Atlanta, Ga., later graduating from Indiana’s DePauw University and the Howard University School of Law in Washington, D.C. In 1971, Jordan was the president of the National Urban League, a post he commanded for a decade.
The NUL’s State of Black America report was first initialized by Jordan in 1976 in response to President Gerald Ford’s State of the Union Address which Jordan and the NUL failed to speak to the concerns that Black Americans faced at the time. Jordan’s tenure with the NUL was productive, as it expanded national chapters and raised millions of dollars. The NUL also gave attention to voter registration drives and spoke to the concerns of police conduct within Black communities, issues that the organization still assists with today.
Jordan was the target of an assassination attempt outside a hotel in Fort Wayne, Ind. in May 1980 after leaving a speaking engagement. Over the course of three months in the hospital and several surgeries, Jordan was visited by President Jimmy Carter among others. Carter’s visit was the first story covered by the newly-established cable news network, CNN. The late Joseph Franklin, a known white supremacist, carried out the failed hit but was never prosecuted, but was later put to death in 2013 in connection with another murder.
Current NUL President Marc Morial offed in a statement, “The nation has lost one of its greatest champions of racial and economic justice. He was a transformational leader who brought the movement into a new era. He was a personal mentor and dear friend. His passing leaves a tremendous void that can never be filled.”
Jordan is survived by his wife Ann Jordan, his daughter Vickee Jordan Adams with his late first wife, and nine grandchildren.
Vernon Jordan was 85.