Mar 3, 2021 @ 11:12

US civil rights lawyer Vernon Jordan dead at 85

Vernon Jordan, a civil rights lawyer who worked on landmark cases desegregating schools for African-Americans and became a towering figure in Democratic politics, has died, his family said Tuesday.

Jordan’s death in Washington on Monday at the age of 85 was announced by his daughter, Vickee Jordan.

Jordan, who was seriously wounded in a 1980 assassination attempt by an avowed white supremacist, was a leading figure in the civil rights struggle of the 1960s and in the Democratic Party.

A close advisor to former president Bill Clinton, Jordan served as chairman of his 1992 presidential transition team.

“Vernon Jordan was a wonderful friend to Hillary, Chelsea, and me, in good times and bad,” Clinton said on Twitter. “We worked and played, laughed and cried, won and lost together.”

President Joe Biden described Jordan as a “fixture in our country’s halls of power.

“Along the way, he became a foot soldier for civil rights, a trusted friend and counselor to presidents,” Biden said in a statement.

Jaime Harrison, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, said Jordan “created a path forward for African-Americans where there were none.”

Nancy Pelosi, Democratic Speaker of the House of Representatives, described Jordan as a “giant of the Civil Rights movement.”

“His leadership took our nation closer to its Founding promise: all are created equal,” Pelosi said.

Jordan was born in Atlanta, Georgia, and grew up in the southern city during a time of strict racial segregation.

After receiving a law degree from Howard University in Washington, he worked on a number of cases seeking to secure voting rights for African-Americans and to dismantle segregation.

He was notably involved in a 1961 lawsuit that paved the way for the first Black students to attend the University of Georgia.

Jordan worked for the NAACP civil rights organization before becoming president of another advocacy group, the National Urban League.

He was seriously wounded by a sniper outside a hotel in Fort Wayne, Indiana, in May 1980.

A white supremacist was acquitted in 1982 of attempted murder but later confessed to shooting Jordan after being convicted in another case.

During the latter part of his life, Jordan was active in business, serving on the boards of a number of leading American companies including American Express, Revlon and Xerox.

Agence France-Presse

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