The longtime civil rights leader Vernon Jordan, who became a close friend and adviser to both Bill and Hillary Clinton and played a key role during the Monica Lewinsky scandal, died Monday evening at age 85.
A statement from his family to the AP says that Jordan died in his sleep.
Jordan, who grew up in the segregated south, rose to prominence as a civil rights activist. After studying law at Howard University, Jordan first fought against segregation with a lawsuit against the University of Georgia in 1961. He also worked as a NAACP field worker and director of the Southern Regional Council for the Voter Education Project before serving as president of the National Urban League.
Jordan worked closely on civil rights issues with presidents from Lyndon Johnson in the 1960’s to Barack Obama during the past decade. He was particularly close with the Clintons, advising then-Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton during his successful 1992 presidential campaign and as an outside adviser during the Clinton administration, including during the Lewinsky scandal. He also strongly endorsed both of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaigns.
He also served as executive director of the United Negro College Fund.