Vernon Jordan, a leading civil rights activist who became a close adviser to President Bill Clinton, has died. He was 85.
Jordan worked for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and campaigned for voting rights before becoming president of the National Urban League.
“Today, the world lost an influential figure in the fight for civil rights and American politics,” said Derrick Johnson, president of the NAACP, in a statement.
“An icon to the world and a lifelong friend to the NAACP, his contribution to moving our society toward justice is unparalleled. In 2001, Jordan received the NAACP’s Spingarn Medal for a lifetime of social justice activism. His exemplary life will shine as a guiding light for all that seek truth and justice for all people.”
CNN first reported Jordan’s death. Jordan’s daughter, Vickee Jordan Adams, told CBS News: “My father passed away last night around 10pm surrounded by loved ones, his wife and daughter by his side.” The cause of death was not immediately known.
Jordan was close to both Bill and Hillary Clinton and advised the former in his run for the presidency in 1992, while governor of Arkansas. Jordan also endorsed Hillary Clinton in her two runs for the Democratic presidential nomination, in 2008 and 2016.
In 1999, Jordan became entangled in the impeachment drama over Bill Clinton’s sexual liaison with Monica Lewinsky, a White House intern whom Jordan helped find a job.
Alongside Lewinsky and Sidney Blumenthal, another close adviser to Clinton, he became a key witness in impeachment proceedings which ended with the president acquitted.