Karoline Nations

Written by Karoline Nations

Modified & Updated: 02 Jun 2024

Jessica Corbett

Reviewed by Jessica Corbett

Source: Nytimes.com

Vernon Jordan is a name that resonates with power, influence, and achievement. As a prominent lawyer, civil rights activist, and corporate executive, Jordan’s life is a testament to grit, intelligence, and determination. Throughout his remarkable career, he has made a significant impact in multiple fields, leaving an indelible mark on American society.

In this article, we will explore 13 unbelievable facts about Vernon Jordan that showcase his exceptional journey. From his groundbreaking work in the civil rights movement to his trailblazing role as an advisor to presidents, Jordan’s life is a remarkable tapestry of accomplishments and experiences. So, fasten your seatbelts as we embark on a captivating journey through the life of one of America’s most influential figures.

Key Takeaways:

  • Vernon Jordan was a trailblazing civil rights leader who played a pivotal role in desegregating schools and survived an assassination attempt, leaving an inspiring legacy for future generations.
  • Known for his charisma and political acumen, Vernon Jordan served as a close friend and advisor to President Bill Clinton, and his remarkable achievements continue to inspire the fight for equality and justice.
Table of Contents

Vernon Jordan was a trailblazing civil rights leader.

With a career spanning several decades, Vernon Jordan made significant contributions to the civil rights movement in America. From his early involvement with the NAACP to his work as an influential lawyer and advisor to presidents, Jordan was an instrumental figure in the fight for equality and justice.

He played a pivotal role in desegregating schools.

Vernon Jordan was a key figure in the legal battles that led to the desegregation of schools in the United States. His strategic leadership and relentless pursuit of justice helped break down the discriminatory barriers that denied African-American students equal educational opportunities.

Jordan served as a close friend and advisor to President Bill Clinton.

Known for his charisma and political acumen, Vernon Jordan formed a close bond with President Bill Clinton. He provided valuable counsel and played a significant role in shaping Clinton’s policies, particularly on issues related to civil rights and racial equality.

He survived an assassination attempt in 1980.

In a shocking incident that shook the nation, Vernon Jordan was shot by a white supremacist named Joseph Paul Franklin. Miraculously, Jordan survived the attack and continued his unwavering commitment to fighting for social justice.

Jordan was a prominent figure in corporate America.

Throughout his career, Vernon Jordan held various high-profile positions in major corporations, including serving as the president of the National Urban League and as a member of numerous corporate boards. He used his influence to advocate for diversity and equal opportunities in the business world.

He was awarded the Spingarn Medal.

In recognition of his exceptional contributions to the advancement of African Americans, Vernon Jordan was awarded the prestigious Spingarn Medal by the NAACP in This honor is given annually to individuals who have made significant achievements in the field of civil rights.

Jordan was instrumental in the creation of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Vernon Jordan played a crucial role in advocating for the passage of the historic Voting Rights Act of His legal expertise and persuasive arguments helped convince lawmakers to address the systemic disenfranchisement faced by African-American voters.

He was an influential figure in the Democratic Party.

Vernon Jordan’s political acumen and strategic thinking made him a highly sought-after advisor within the Democratic Party. He played a significant role in shaping party platforms and was instrumental in mobilizing African-American voters.

Jordan served on the board of multiple prominent organizations.

Throughout his life, Vernon Jordan served on the board of directors for various prestigious organizations, including the American Express Company, Dow Jones & Company, and Xerox Corporation. His expertise and insight were highly valued in the corporate world.

He was a renowned public speaker.

Vernon Jordan captivated audiences with his charismatic and powerful speeches. Known for his eloquence and ability to connect with people, he delivered inspiring messages on topics ranging from civil rights to leadership.

Jordan received numerous awards and honors.

Throughout his lifetime, Vernon Jordan received countless awards and honors for his tireless advocacy for civil rights. From honorary degrees to distinguished leadership awards, his impact on society was widely recognized and celebrated.

He authored an autobiography.

Vernon Jordan’s remarkable life story was chronicled in his autobiography titled “Vernon Can Read! A Memoir”. In the book, he shared his personal journey and offered insights into the struggles and triumphs of the civil rights movement.

Jordan’s legacy continues to inspire future generations.

The incredible achievements and contributions of Vernon Jordan have left an indelible mark on American history. His unwavering dedication to equality and justice serves as an inspiration for future generations to continue the fight for a more inclusive and equitable society.


In conclusion, Vernon Jordan was a remarkable figure who left an indelible mark on American society. His contributions to civil rights, corporate America, and political advocacy have solidified his place as a prominent celebrity. From his humble beginnings to his influential roles, Jordan navigated the complexities of society with grace and determination. His extraordinary journey serves as an inspiration to many, reminding us all of the power of perseverance and the impact that one individual can have on the world. Vernon Jordan’s legacy will continue to be celebrated and cherished, and his influence will be felt for generations to come.


1. Who is Vernon Jordan?

Vernon Jordan was an American civil rights activist, influential corporate leader, and political advisor. He gained national recognition for his tireless efforts in promoting racial equality and advancement.

2. What were some of Vernon Jordan’s significant achievements?

Vernon Jordan achieved numerous significant milestones throughout his career. He played a pivotal role in the civil rights movement, served as the president of the National Urban League, and held influential positions in corporate America, including serving on the boards of multiple Fortune 500 companies.

3. How did Vernon Jordan contribute to the advancement of civil rights?

Vernon Jordan played a crucial role in the civil rights movement. He worked closely with prominent leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr. and was involved in pivotal moments, including assisting with desegregation efforts and fighting for equal voting rights.

4. What impact did Vernon Jordan have on corporate America?

Vernon Jordan was highly respected in the corporate world and emerged as a trailblazer for Black professionals. He opened doors for many aspiring individuals of color, advocating for equal opportunities in boardrooms and executive suites.

5. How did Vernon Jordan influence political affairs?

Vernon Jordan played a significant role in shaping political affairs as an influential advisor. He advised and worked closely with several U.S. Presidents, including Bill Clinton, and played a key role in various political campaigns and policy initiatives.

6. What is Vernon Jordan’s lasting legacy?

Vernon Jordan’s lasting legacy is one of resilience, leadership, and dedicated service. He will be remembered for his unwavering commitment to civil rights, remarkable corporate achievements, and his ability to break down barriers and advocate for positive change.

Vernon Jordan's remarkable life serves as an inspiration to many, from his close friendship with President Bill Clinton to his tireless efforts in the fight for civil rights alongside luminaries like Malcolm X. As we celebrate the legacy of this extraordinary man, let us also take a moment to recognize the invaluable contributions of travel advisors who help make our global adventures possible.

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