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Photos:  Depauw University, Archive Images.

Vernon E. Jordan, Jr.

Date: 
Mar. 17, 1964
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Vernon E. Jordan, Jr.
Vernon E. Jordan, Jr. Bio

 

Vernon E. Jordan (born 1935) is a lawyer, civil rights activist, and political advisor. After he earned his law degree at Howard University in 1960, Jordan returned to Atlanta to join the office of Donald L. Hollowell, a civil rights activist. A suit brought by the firm resulted in the admission of African Americans Charlayne Hunter (now Charlayne Hunter-Gault) and Hamilton E. Holmes to the University of Georgia. Jordan worked as the Georgia field director for the NAACP, then for the Southern Regional Council, directing its Voter Education Project from 1964 to 1968. He led the National Urban League from 1971 to 1981. He was known for creating links between the Nixon and Carter administrations and the African American community.  In 2001 he was awarded the Spingarn Medal, which is awarded annually by the NAACP for outstanding achievement by an African American. 

Abstract

Vernon Jordan discusses his early life attending a segregated high school in Atlanta.  During his high school years he met a man named Paul Lawrence who came to speak with students about the National Services Scholarship Fund. After meeting Mr. Lawrence, Jordan became interested in attending Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, but he was unable to take the college entrance exam and was not accepted to this school. Jordan went on to attend DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana, where he was the only black student in a class of 400. He describes his struggles at DePauw and realizing that his southern segregated education had been inadequate in preparing him for college. Jordan received his degree and attended Howard University Law School. Jordan also discusses some philosophical topics such as African American identity, the role of black spirituals in American culture, the effects of Reconstruction in the South after the Civil War, and the role of Lincoln in the emancipation of the slaves. Jordan describes what he feels are the goals of the civil rights movement.

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