I was a Stenographer when Mr. Jordan joined the National Urban League upon the 1971 passing of Whitney Young in Lagos, Nigeria. I worked in the Public Relations Department with Mr. Jordan's speech writer, Dan Davis.
Along with everyone at the League, I cried when Mr. Jordan was shot in 1980 by the same individual who also shot and paralyzed Larry Flint in 1978. How ironic that Mr. Flynt and Mr. Jordan deceased within almost a month of each other. In my position of being the Benefits Assistant in 1980, I cringed each time I read Mr. Jordan's medical report and
My personal memory of Mr. Jordan is -- after the 1977 New York City Con Edison Power System Blackout, our apartment was totally consumed by fire (me, my husband and our two daughters ages 11 and 8; one almost lost her life ftom smoke inhalation and the other one was burnt on her hand). The fire resulted in the electrical wiring in the walls combusting after power was restored to the apartment the next day.
Mr. Jordan provided us with beds and other furnishings, books and clothing for the girls, custom suits and other clothing for my husband, who was hard to fit since he was a tall guy.
Another great memory is -- my desk faced the elevator and one day the doors opened and Michael Jackson, his entourage and Mr. Jordan got off and staff members were comprising Michael Jackson. I kept typing because Mr. Jordan's weekly column "To Be Equal" was due to go to press at the end of the day and he was scheduled to give a speech the next day in Washington, D. C. Michael was fascinated by my typing speed and my shorthand. He asked how fast did I type, what was I typing and how fast did I take shorthand
Since all of Mr. Jordan's speeches were archived after his speaking engagements, he took this opportunity to ask about some notes he had scribbled on his last speech assumed I would go to the files to pull out the speech. I was always prepared for Mr. Jordan forgetting to take notes of something of importance he scribbled on most of these speeches. Sometimes I would have to read the notes upside down to make sense of them (my mentor, Faith Williams, used to tell Mr. Jordan I did the New York Times crossword puzzles upside down, backwards and in ink). I made a point to record those notes on my steno pad. The Michael Jackson episode was Mr. Jordan's first time being made aware of my note/scribbling recordkeeping operating system -- lol). Michael advised when he returned home, he was going to have his staff do the same with his "scribblings". Mr. Jordan told him to contact me if he needed guidance. Aah -- a classic moment from a classy, much respected, employee-appreciative (of all staff) Skipper.
REST ON. Like one of your favorite sayings: "Just like a tree planted by the water, I shall not be moved!!!
Della Mitchell (nee Godfrey)