Transcript for Remembering life and legacy of civil rights activist Vernon Jordan
Okay, Michael, now we honor civil rights icon, Vernon Jordan who passed away at the age of 85. He was a towering figure in social justice, a trusted adviser to presidents on bode sides of the aisle. Deborah Roberts has much more. Good morning, Deborah. Reporter: Good morning, robin. Yeah, those tributes say so much about Vernon Jordan's life. Ursula Barnes saying he didn't walk through life so much as he 234r0e9ed through. A man of uncommon dignity and grace whose impact was felt from voting booths in schools in the deep south to the highest office in this country. Born in second bring gated Georgia Vernon Jordan rose from humble beginnings to become an iconic civil rights ago advice finding remarkable success as a D.C. Power broker, businessman and presidential adviser. Known for his graceful manner and elegant appearance, it was Jordan's keen intellect and calm demeanor which seemed to set him apart from other activists of hi days. Raised in Atlanta he earned a law degree from Howard university where he watched Thurgood Marshall. He plunged right into the civil rights struggle heading the national urban league, even surviving an assassination attempt in 1980. Tapped in 1992 to lead bill Clinton's transition team, their close friendship in the white house earned him the nickname first friend. Ours is an enduing friendship based on mutual respect, trust and admiration. Reporter: Jordan even becoming an unofficial white house aide and fixer. A position that drew him into controversy during Clinton's scandal involving Monica Lewinsky. Bill Clinton writing of his dear friend, Vernon Jordan brought his big brain and strong heart to everything and everybody he touched and he made them better. This morning, president Biden saying, Vernon navigated America's boardrooms within aactivist heart working the levers of power in service of progress. The national urban league, the nation has lost one of its greatest champions of racial and economic justice. His passing leaves a tremendous men douse void that can never be filled. The next generation has to take the baton and keep going. Reporter: So many lives touched by Jordan's strength and courage including my own. 60 years ago he helped desegregate the university of Georgia, my ALMA mater enduring hostile mobs along the way. I've over the year has a chance to know him and his family and share a stage with him from time to time at a civil rights event and stand back and watch as he cast a spell over those who knew they were watching a once in a lifetime leader. You just gave me chills. You said that so well. Thank you for sharing that. He was all about elevating No question. He was and he would make a point with women and people of color to make sure that they got on board, task force, agenda, he was so good about that. You knew him well. I worked with him for many, many years. He was a good friend. He took command of every room he was in. He was comfortable in boardrooms, comfortable inside the white house, but it's the way he used that access. He used that access for the things he believed in and for the people who couldn't get in those rooms. He said pass the baton. He ran a long way around the track. The Obamas knew him well and
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