March 2, 2021
Vernon Jordan, the civil rights activist and Washington power broker who also served as a close adviser under the Bill Clinton administration, died on Monday at his home in Washington. He was 85.
His daughter, Vickee Jordan, confirmed his death in a statement to CBS News. “My father passed away last night around 10 pm surrounded by loved ones, his wife, and daughter by his side.”
— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) March 2, 2021
After a successful legal career, Jordan became directly involved in activism, serving as the NAACP’s Georgia field director. He’d also become involved with other civil rights groups from the Southern Regional Council to the Voter Education Project. By 1970, Jordan was selected to head the Urban League while still in his 30s. He’d serve as president from 1971 to 1981 and nearly die from an assassination attempt in 1980.
After working for several Civil Rights Movement organizations, Jordan was chosen by President Bill Clinton as a close adviser, serving as part of Clinton’s transition team in 1992-1993. Jordan became known as an influential figure and a powerful force behind the scenes of American politics, becoming a close friend of President Barack Obama as well.
Obama spoke on his relationship with Jordan. “Like so many others, Michelle and I benefited from Vernon Jordan’s wise counsel and warm friendship — and deeply admired his tireless fight for civil rights,” Obama tweeted. “We hope the memory of his extraordinary presence and the legacy of his work bring comfort to Ann, Vickee, and his family.”
Like so many others, Michelle and I benefited from Vernon Jordan's wise counsel and warm friendship—and deeply admired his tireless fight for civil rights. We hope the memory of his extraordinary presence and the legacy of his work bring comfort to Ann, Vickee, and his family. pic.twitter.com/HBZfGUuyVl
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) March 2, 2021
At the announcement of Jordan’s death, condolences rang in from civil rights and political leaders:
Mourning the passage of my friend, the extraordinary Vernon Jordan. He battled the demons of voter suppression and racial degradation, winning more than he lost. He brought others w/him. And left a map so more could find their way. Love to his family. Travel on with God’s grace.
— Stacey Abrams (@staceyabrams) March 2, 2021
Sending my condolences and prayers to the family of the great Vernon Jordan. From civil rights to business, Mr. Jordan demonstrated the highest quality of leadership and created a path forward for African-Americans where there were none. He will be missed. #RestInPower https://t.co/toI7H3J1Aa
— Jaime Harrison, DNC Chair (@harrisonjaime) March 2, 2021
Saddened at hearing of the passing of Vernon Jordan, a true Civil Rights Giant. He made a difference. I’ll always treasure he guidance.
— Reverend Al Sharpton (@TheRevAl) March 2, 2021
And now, an honored ancestor.
Rest in power, Vernon Jordan. Job very well done. https://t.co/A2O2p95uzd
— Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock (@SenatorWarnock) March 2, 2021
It is with great sadness that we share that one of our organization's greatest leaders, our 5th president, Vernon Jordan, has passed away. From @MarcMorial: "We will miss his brilliance, insight, oratory, and humor." https://t.co/bK2LdJVJxL pic.twitter.com/kW0ZLnMebS
— Nat'l Urban League (@NatUrbanLeague) March 2, 2021
"It is with a heavy heart that I share the passing of Vernon E. Jordan, Esq., a proud graduate of Howard's law school. His legacy as a Civil Rights activist and advocate for social justice will live on. Our prayers are with the family and friends of this fallen bison." @HUPrez17 pic.twitter.com/Xa4Kb1bVTE
— Howard University (@HowardU) March 2, 2021
Vernon Jordan is survived by his wife, daughter, and other family and friends. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.