WATCH LIVE: Civil rights chief Vernon Jordan remembered at memorial service

A memorial on Tuesday will commemorate the life of American civil rights activist, confidante of the president and corporate pioneer Vernon Jordan.

Jordan died on March 1st at the age of 85. He was a leading advocate for black Americans and a mentor to those who came after him.

The memorial at Howard University’s Cramton Auditorium is slated to begin Tuesday at 12 p.m. ET. Watch in the player below.

Jordan had been an informal adviser to former President Bill Clinton and a confidante of former President Barack Obama. Jordan “brought his big brain and heart to everything and everyone he touched. And he made it better, ”said Clinton and his wife, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in a statement following Jordan’s death.

“Like so many others, Michelle and I have benefited from Vernon Jordan’s wise advice and warm friendship – and deeply admired his relentless struggle for civil rights,” Obama said.

Vernon Eulion Jordan Jr. was born in Atlanta on August 15, 1935, and attended DePauw University in Indiana, where he was the only black student in his class. He then attended the Howard University School of Law in Washington.

Upon graduation, Jordan returned to Atlanta, where he was part of the legal team to help support the University of Georgia split. Charlayne Hunter-Gault, who helped Jordan as one of the first black students at the university in 1961, said Jordan’s mother was a key figure in designing him.

“His mother… was just that wonderful person who helped him shape him and tell him so, even though he lived in a separate society that tried to get him and other people who look like him to agree unequal to feeling that it wasn’t him, that it was top notch, ”Hunter-Gault told PBS NewsHour’s Judy Woodruff. “She insisted he was someone. And she taught him that you stand on the shoulders of giants. And it was these lessons that he passed on … to the younger generation and to those with whom he worked. “

WATCH: Charlayne Hunter-Gault and Ursula Burns to discuss Vernon Jordan legacy with Judy Woodruff

Ursula Burns, senior advisor at consulting firm Teneo and former CEO of Xerox, recalls Jordan as “the perfect example of a friend” and a person who led her life.

“Every important moment in my life – the birth of my daughter, important moments in my career, my husband’s illness, my husband’s eventual death, my promotions, board appointments, everything in my life since I met him – Vernon was there at every important moment, “said Burns.

Jordan has served on the board of directors of several Fortune 500 companies and over the years has held executive positions with the Georgia NAACP, the United Negro College Fund, and the National Urban League.

In 1980 he survived an assassination attempt in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Jordan had five surgeries and spent three months recovering in the hospital.

His autobiography “Vernon Can Read !: A Memoir” was published in 2001.

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