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March 4, 2021

Civil rights leader and powerful Washington attorney and political adviser Vernon Jordan died in his sleep Monday at 85.

Jordan began his civil rights activism by suing the University of Georgia to end segregation in 1961. He worked on a number of other civil rights issues, becoming the head of the National Urban League, an executive board member of the United Negro College Fund, and a top adviser to Presidents, including Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.

Among the many tributes pouring in was one from Republican former Secretary of State and the Treasury James Baker, who called Jordan a good friend. He said the two were political opponents, but they were not enemies. Let’s hope that concept is something that doesn’t die along with Americans of Jordan’s generation.

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