In Memoriam: Vernon Jordan
Vernon E. Jordan Jr. died on March 1, at his home in Washington. He was 85.
Jordan began his work in civil rights after graduating from Howard University School of Law in 1960. From 1971 to 1981 he was president of the National Urban League, before becoming a lawyer-lobbyist at Akin Gump. In 1992-93, he chaired President Bill Clinton's transition team, and for decades he remained a friend and adviser to Bill and Hillary Clinton.
An ALI member since 1991, Jordan had a long and prestigious legal career. He received more than 55 honorary degrees, including ones from both of his alma maters, and sat on several boards of directors. In 2001, Jordan was awarded the Spingarn Medal, the highest honor given by the NAACP to a Black American for outstanding achievement.
ALI member Don H. Liu of the Target Corporation reflected on Mr. Jordan’s passing saying, “Of all the great accomplishments Vernon achieved, however, the one that has influenced me the most is the importance he placed on helping the underprivileged – on a person by person basis. And, the only ask from Vernon for his acts of kindness was that we pay it forward.”
Jordan leaves behind a powerful legacy. He has cemented himself as important civil rights figure and leader, mentor, and friend for many and will be greatly missed.