Vernon Jordan, Jr.

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Vernon Jordan

Vernon Eulion Jordan, Jr. was the Senior Managing Director of Lazard Frères & Co. LLC and on Counsel of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, LLP. Jordan was an Honorary Trustee of the Brookings Institution.[1]

Vernon Jordan is the great uncle of Valerie Jarrett.

Early life

Vernon Jordan was born on August 15, 1935, in Atlanta. Graduating with honors from David T. Howard High School in 1953, he went on to attend DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana, where he was the only African American student in his class. At DePauw, Jordan participated in the student senate, won statewide honors in speaking competitions, played basketball and graduated in 1957. He then entered Howard University School of Law, receiving his J.D. in 1960[2].

Inspired by A. T. Walden

According to Gerald Horne, Vernon Jordan was inspired in his career by Atlanta lawyer A.T. Walden, who had in the 1930s sponsored Communist Party USA member Ben Davis to the Georgia State Bar.[3].

Civil Rights activism

Jordan returned to Atlanta starting his legal career working with the civil rights movement. In 1961, he helped organize the integration of the University of Georgia and personally escorted student Charlayne Hunter through a hostile white crowd. Over the next ten years, Jordan held various positions as a civil rights advocate. He served as the Georgia field secretary for the NAACP; director of the Voter Education Project for the Southern Regional Council; head of the United Negro College Fund; and as a delegate to President Lyndon B. Johnson's White House Conference on Civil Rights[4].

National Conference of Black Lawyers

Jordan was a founding member of the National Conference of Black Lawyers.[5]

According to the National Conference of Black Lawyers website[6];

In 1968, young people of African descent in America were growing impatient with the slow pace of social change. Despite modest advances brought on by two decades of non-violent resistance, from one end of the country to the other, the cry for Black Power was raised in the midst of a sea of clinched fists. At the same time, this new militant spirit had moved many to don black berets and carry rifles. On street corners in practically every Black community, passers-by heard demands for Nation Time and Power to the People!

The National Conference of Black Lawyers and its allied organization, the National Lawyers Guild are the U.S. affiliates of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers.[7]

The IADL, was a "front" for the former Soviet Union and is still dominated by communist and socialist lawyers and legal organizations.

New American Movement connection

In 1979 the New American Movement published a booklet entitled "Socialist working papers on energy".

Contributors included Vernon Jordan, Jr. who wrote "Energy Policy and Black People".[8]

Endorsed Communist Party front

1982 National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression pamphlet

In 1982, Jordan endorsed a Communist Party USA front, the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, which was led by leading Party members Angela Davis and Charlene Mitchell.

IPS connection

Vernon Jordan was a member of the Institute for Policy Studies 20th Anniversary celebrations committee which organized an April 5, 1983, reception at the National Building Museum attended by approximately 1,000 IPS staffers and former staff.[9].


In 1971, Jordan was appointed president and CEO of the National Urban League, where he spearheaded the organization's growth. In 1981 Jordan resigned from the National Urban League to take a position as legal council with the Washington, D.C. office of the law firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer and Feld. His active practice includes corporate, legislative and international clients. Jordan's close friend is former President Bill Clinton and during Clinton's presidency, Jordan became one of Washington's most influential power brokers[10].

Relationship with the Clintons

Jordan's ties with the Clintons go back to the 1970s, when Hillary, working with the Children's Defense Fund, met Ann, then a social worker in Chicago. When Bill Clinton ran in 1992, Vernon was a key adviser and confidant. He remained so during the Clinton presidency—most prominently when he tried to gently hustle Monica Lewinsky out of town by inquiring about job offers for her in New York.


Jordan has received numerous awards and honors for his work, including the Alexis de Tocqueville Award from the United Way of America in 1977 for his dedication to volunteerism. In 2001, Jordan published his autobiography, Vernon Can Read! to widespread praise. He has also authored a weekly newspaper column syndicated to more than 300 newspapers and serves as a frequent television guest and commentator. Jordan is an active on various corporate boards and has had various presidential appointments[11].

Obama supporter

John Bryan, the former chairman of Sara Lee, introduced Obama to Vernon Jordan, Democratic power broker in 2004. Jordan promptly staged a fundraiser for Obama at his Washington home-the first in that city[12].

External links


  1. Trustees
  3. "Black liberation/red scare: Ben Davis and the Communist Party" by page, 35
  5. Founding members
  8. Socialist working papers on energy, NAM revised edition 1979, contents page
  9. Information Digest April l5, 1983 p77-79