Vernon Jordan '57 Contributes to New Documentary, Fair Game
August 12, 2018
Vernon E. Jordan Jr., the attorney, presidential adviser, civil rights legend and 1957 graduate of DePauw University, is featured in a new documentary, Fair Game: A 1960 Georgia Lynching Story. The film by Clennon King tells the story of James Fair Jr., who was defended by King's father; Jordan was a young clerk in the law office.
"We’re all James Fairs, those of us of color," King tells the Martha's Vineyard Times. "There’s an old African proverb, ‘Until lions have historians, tales of the hunt will always glorify the hunter.’ That’s why I do the work that I do. This is about saving lives."
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A political science major as an undergraduate at DePauw, Vernon Jordan went on to earn his law degree at Howard University. He holds honorary doctoral degrees from more than 60 colleges and universities in America, including DePauw. He is the author of Vernon Can Read! A Memoir and Make It Plain: Standing Up and Speaking Out.
In December 2009, Jordan was one of eight individuals presented with the Du Bois Medal, the highest honor awarded by the Harvard University Institute of Politics' W.E.B. Du Bois Institute. He's also been honored with the Spingarn Medal, the NAACP's highest honor for achievement, the Trumpet Award, and DePauw's Old Gold Goblet and McNaughton Medal for Public Service. In June 2017 he received the Harvard Law School Center on the Legal Profession's Award for Global Leadership and he was honored by the Anti-Defamation League this February.
Jordan is the first person in DePauw's 181-year history to be called upon three times as commencement speaker who was not a bishop of the Methodist Church (Francis John McConnell and Edwin Holt Hughes, both addressed DePauw graduates four times [McConnell: 1919, 1924, 1930 and 1947]; [Hughes: 1919, 1924, 1930 and 1947]). William Fraser McDowell spoke in 1902, 1908 and 1920.
This May, Jordan delivered a powerful message to DePauw's Class of 2018, which is embedded below.
An advisory member of DePauw's Board of Trustees, Jordan has been a regular visitor to campus since he earned his diploma 61 years ago. Among his many visits to Greencastle: he delivered an Ubben Lecture at the October 2016 inauguration of President D. Mark McCoy and was on campus in November 2011 to introduce his good friend, America's 42nd president, Bill Clinton, who delivered an Ubben Lecture before 5,000 people in the Lilly Center.
Jordan has said, "DePauw expanded my mind, broadened my horizons, lifted my sights, prepared me to serve and to lead and nurtured my growth and maturity. I made lasting friendships here. If I had my life to live over again, I would return to this place."Back