Howard University to Name Law Library After Civil Rights Leader Vernon Jordan

Following his tragic passing earlier this month, Howard University has announced plans to name its law library after the late Vernon E. Jordan Jr., who was an alumnus of the historically Black college’s law school as well as a celebrated civil rights icon.

According to Lauren Lumpkin of The Washington Post, “Jordan was one of President Bill Clinton’s closest advisers and guided the former president through some of the most challenging moments of his eight years in office. Congressional leaders and civil rights icons called Jordan a confidant, as well.”

“Throughout a career that spanned five decades, Jordan organized voter registration drives for Black Southern voters and helped lead civil rights organizations, including the National Urban League and United Negro College Fund,” Lumpkin reported.

“Vernon Jordan’s life embodied Howard’s motto of truth and service from his early beginnings as a lawyer to his work in the Civil Rights Movement and later as an adviser to Presidents Reagan, Bush, Carter and most prominently as a friend and adviser to President Bill Clinton,” said Howard University President Wayne A.I. Frederick in a statement following the announcement. “Mr. Jordan is the kind of person who never met a stranger and who enjoyed mentoring students to help them succeed.”

In the release, Frederick also recounted one of his favorite stories about the lauded lawyer, saying that “he often told a story about spending his summers in college working as a chauffeur for Mr. Robert Maddox, a former Mayor and retired banker in Atlanta, GA, who owned a vast home library. Mr. Jordan spent his down time reading the books and when Maddox found out, he was shocked and begrudgingly gave him permission to continue reading. One night at the dinner table, Maddox proclaimed to his family, ‘Vernon can read!’ Mr. Jordan never forgot that experience and it became a pivotal moment in his vast narrative of triumph over controversy. Therefore, it is most fitting that we name one of Howard’s libraries in his honor.”

To learn more about the Vernon E. Jordan, Jr. Esq. Law Library, click here.


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