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Vernon Jordan, Civil Rights Icon and Former Clinton Adviser, dies at 85

Vernon Jordan, a civil rights icon and adviser to former President Bill Clinton, died Monday, according to his family.

He was 85.

His daughter, Vickee Jordan, said he "passed away peacefully last evening surrounded by loved ones."

"We appreciate all of the outpouring of love and affection," she said Tuesday in a statement.

Born Aug. 15, 1935, in Atlanta, Jordan grew up in the segregated South and became an influential leader in the civil rights movement, Washington politics and Wall Street.

Jordan, a graduate of DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana, and the Howard University School of Law in Washington, D.C., went on to become president of the National Urban League from 1971 to 1981.

According to the organization, he was the first to produce a State of Black America report in 1976 "after both President Gerald Ford’s State of the Union Address and Sen. Edmund Muskie’s response completely ignored the crisis then facing Black Americans."

Under his leadership, the organization added 17 chapters and its budget grew to more than $100 million. It also broadened its focus to include voter registration drives and conflict resolution between Black people and law enforcement.

The high-profile position landed him in the crosshairs of a racist in May 1980 in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Jordan was shot with a hunter’s rifle outside his hotel after returning from dinner following a speaking engagement.

Jordan had five operations and was visited by President Jimmy Carter during his three-month recovery in the hospital.

Joseph Paul Franklin, the avowed white supremacist who targeted Blacks and Jews in a cross-country killing spree from 1977 to 1980, later admitted to shooting Jordan. He was never prosecuted in Jordan’s case; he was put to death in 2013 for another slaying in Missouri.

Read entire article at MSNBC