Jordan, Vernon E. (Vernon Eulion), 1935-2021
Vernon Eulion Jordan Jr. (August 15, 1935 – March 1, 2021) was an American business executive and civil rights activist who worked for Civil Rights Movement organizations before being chosen by President Bill Clinton as his close adviser.
Born in Atlanta, Jordan grew up with his family in the segregated societal cosmos of Atlanta. An honors graduate of David T. Howard High School, he matriculated to DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana, graduating in 1957, the only black student in a class of 400. He earned a J.D. degree at Howard University School of Law in 1960. He was a member of the Omega Psi Phi and Sigma Pi Phi fraternities.
Jordan returned to Atlanta to join the law office of Donald L. Hollowell, a civil rights activist. The firm, including Constance Motley, sued the University of Georgia for racial discrimination in its admission policies. The suit ended in 1961 with a Federal Court order demanding the admission of two African Americans, Charlayne Hunter and Hamilton E. Holmes. Jordan personally escorted Hunter past a group of angry white protesters to the university admissions office.
After leaving private law practice in the early 1960s, Jordan became directly involved in activism in the field, serving as the Georgia field director for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. From the NAACP, he moved to the Southern Regional Council and then to the Voter Education Project. In 1970, Jordan became executive director of the United Negro College Fund. He was president of the National Urban League from 1971 to 1981.
Jordan resigned from the Urban League in 1981, taking a position as legal counsel for the Washington, D.C. firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer, and Feld. While there Jordan took many prominent clients, including Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton. In 1992, Jordan was chosen by President-elect Clinton to lead his transition team. Jordan later served as an advisor for President Clinton, becoming one of his closest friends and political allies. In 1999, Jordan testified before Congress during President Clinton’s impeachment trial regarding the Monica Lewinsky scandal.
From January 2000 on, Jordan was a senior managing director with Lazard Freres & Co. LLC, an investment banking firm. He was also a member of the board of directors of multiple corporations, including American Express, J.C. Penney Corporation, Asbury Automotive Group, and the Dow Jones & Company.
In the 2004 presidential campaign, Jordan led debate preparation and negotiation efforts on behalf of John Kerry, the Democratic nominee for president. That year he was elected president of The Economic Club of Washington, D.C.. In 2006, Jordan served as a member of the Iraq Study Group, which was formed to make recommendations on U.S. policy in Iraq.
Jordan died at his home in Washington, D.C. on March 1, 2021 at the age of 85.
|Place Name||Admin Code||Country|
|District of Columbia||DC||US|
|New York City||NY||US|
|African American lawyers--Interviews|
|African Americans--Relations with Jews|
|Educational fund raising|
|Civil Rights Lawyer|
|Nonprofit Chief Executive|
|Civil rights activists|