Vernon Jordan: Make It Plain: show-mezzanine16x9

Civil rights leader Vernon Jordan, a corporate titan and Washington power broker who counseled five presidents, died on Monday. He was 85. 

Vernon Jordan: Make it Plain” is a documentary from filmmaker Dawn Porter. It follows Vernon Eulion Jordan Jr.’s  remarkable path from his origins in a segregated Atlanta housing project to pioneering attorney, businessman and civil rights leader; and influential player and counselor to American presidents spanning the era from Lyndon B. Johnson to Barack Obama. 

WATCH: the PBS documentary Vernon Jordan: Make it Plain 

Jordan, a partner at corporate law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld and a principal at financial behemoth Lazard, achieved extraordinary success throughout his career endeavors, paving the way for people of color in the realms of business, law and politics. Appearing in the film are President Bill Clinton, to whom Jordan was a friend and adviser, scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr., who describes Jordan as “the Rosa Parks of Wall Street,” and a host of other notables. 

Jordan had a lifelong dedication and significant contributions to the fight for civil rights and Black economic advancement ― including his participation in a lawsuit against the University of Georgia for discriminatory admissions policies; his work as a field director for the NAACP and director of the Voter Education Project; and his leadership of the United Negro College Fund and the National Urban League.

GPB’s Virginia Prescott spoke with Porter about Jordan's life and influence as a Black leader.


Virginia Prescott spoke with documentary filmmaker Dawn Porter about her film Vernon Jordan: Make It Plain. The film spotlights the life of one of the most groundbreaking and influential African American thought leaders in the United States. 

Porter, whose other films include John Lewis: Good Trouble and The Way I See It, is currently directing and executive producing an multi-part documentary series for Apple TV with Oprah Winfrey and Prince Harry, which focuses on both mental illness and mental well-being.  

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