Vernon Jordan, an icon of the civil rights movement who became a Washington powerbroker during the Clinton administration, died at this home in Washington, D.C., on March 1. He was 85 years old.
Jordan was a native of Atlanta. He earned a bachelor’s degree at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana, where he was the only African American in a class of 400 students and one of five Blacks in the overall student body. He went on to earn a law degree at Howard University. As a young attorney, Jordan worked on the legal battle to desegregate the University of Georgia. During the height of the civil rights era, Jordan was the Georgia field director for the NAACP.
In 1970, Jordan was named executive director of the United Negro College Fund. A year later, he became president of the National Urban League. While serving in that role, Jordan was shot outside a hotel in Fort Wayne, Indiana, in 1980.
Jordan led the presidential transition team of Bill Clinton in 1992-93 and remained a close advisor and golfing buddy to the president. After Clinton left the White House, Jordan became a senior managing director of the investment banking firm Lazard Freres & Co.