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accept him as a law student because he was black. But, he adds, a lot has not changed. “Just look at the unemployment statistics right now.

It’s 16 percent for black people. We’re still the last ones hired and the fi rst ones fi red. We were disproportion- ately, negatively impacted by the subprime loan crisis. A lot has changed, but a lot of change is yet to come.” After tackling a packed agenda over many decades,

one might wonder what lies ahead for Jordan. But when asked what unfi nished business remains, he says, “I think I’m pretty much done.” Of course, those who know him well aren’t quite

so sure. “I don’t know what he’s talking about,” says Ann.

“He’s always taking on some new project. He has so many interests in life.” He admits to having some notion of writing

a third book. (His second book, Make it Plain: Standing Up and Speaking Out, was published in 2008.) T e topic, he says, might be mentoring. “I’m a huge benefi ciary of extraordinary mentoring,” he says, naming dozens of people who have ral- lied behind him, from prominent fi gures including preacher Gardner Calvin Taylor to lesser-known individuals such as childhood YMCA counselors.

But even with the instrumental support of power-

ful mentors, one still wonders how a man who grew up surrounded by racism and societal limitations accomplished so much. “I’ve always done pretty much what I wanted to

do,” he says. If it meant rejecting “safe” government jobs for more interesting jobs, satisfying his initial need to serve and then moving to private work, or becoming a lawyer in the face of discrimination, Jordan pursued what he wanted. And his mother always taught him to aim high. A favorite memory of Jordan’s involves a week in

the summer of 1978, during which he received three honorary degrees, from Princeton University, Harvard University, and Dartmouth College. His mother fl ew up to accompany Jordan and his then-wife Shirley as he accepted these degrees. He smiles as he recounts his mother’s comments at the end this eventful week. “She says, ‘T is has been a great week for me. I am

really proud of you. But I’m not surprised.’” Jordon pauses, then fi nishes her statement. “‘It was what I expected.’” D&B

Kara Mayer Robinson is a freelance writer based near New York City.

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