Dock J. Jordan

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Dock J. Jordan
Born Dock Jackson Jordan
(1866-10-18)October 18, 1866
Cuthbert, Georgia, U.S.
Died October 20, 1943(1943-10-20) (aged 77)
Durham, North Carolina
Residence Durham, North Carolina; Greensboro, North Carolina; Cuthbert, Georgia; Jacksonville, Florida; Atlanta, Georgia; Blakely, Georgia;
Fields Law, Administration Civil rights, History
Institutions Morris Brown College, Edward Waters College, Clark Atlanta University, Kittrell College, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, North Carolina Central University
Alma mater
Known for
Spouse Carrie J. Thomas

Dock Jackson "D. J." Jordan (October 18, 1866 - October 20, 1943) was an American lawyer, author, politician, educator, historian and civil rights activist. On July 14, 1917, a letter that Jordan wrote criticizing President Woodrow Wilson's policies on African-Americans and condemning the administration for the East St. Louis Riot was published in the Raleigh Independent. The letter was subsequently published in newspapers throughout the United States and thrust Jordan into national prominence.

Early life[edit]

Dock Jackson Jordan was born October 18, 1866 in Cuthbert, Georgia to Giles and Julia Jordan. Giles Dolphus Jordan was born a slave in 1840 in South Carolina and died in 1898 in Early County, Georgia. On June 24, 1867, he registered to vote in Early County; two years after his emancipation from slavery. He was a slave on the Westmoreland Plantation in Spartanburg, South Carolina. The elder Jordan was a Circuit Rider and 25-year veteran A.M.E. minister.

Julia Elmira White was born a slave in August 1847 and died on December 2, 1933 in Blakely, Georgia. According to her descendants and as evidenced by the success of her children, education was important to Julia. She ensured that each of her eight children attended school.


He graduated in 1892 from Allen University in Columbia, South Carolina with a B.S. and an LL.B. degree and was admitted to practice law by the South Carolina Supreme Court in May 1892. In 1900, the M.A. degree was bestowed upon him by Allen. After moving to Atlanta, Georgia, he was admitted to practice in that state. According to records held by Columbia University, Jordan furthered his education and received his B.S. in 1925 and his A.M. in 1928 from Teachers College at Columbia University.


Professor D. J. Jordan joined the faculty of Morris Brown College in Atlanta in 1893, and while there, served as Professor of Science and Dean of Law before excepting the position of President of Edward Waters College in Jacksonville Florida in November 1895. Also in 1893, he was a Republican nominee for the state legislature in Randolph County, Georgia and in 1894, a delegate to the state convention. In addition in 1894, Professor Jordan gave a 10 minute speech that aided in defeating Tom Watson as a candidate for Governor of Georgia. He was elected as a lay delegate to the A.M.E. Church in 1896, 1904, and 1912.

In 1897, he returned to Morris Brown as Professor of Literature where he remained until 1898, when he was appointed Vice President of the institution and Professor of Mathematics. He taught a semester at Clark Atlanta University in 1901. From 1905 until 1909, he served as Principal of City School in Atlanta. On December 31, 1895, he married Carrie Thomas Jordan a pioneer Jeanes Supervisor in Durham, North Carolina and Principal in Atlanta.

Kittrell College and famed letter[edit]

In 1909, Dock Jordan moved his family to Kittrell, North Carolina to accept the presidency of the now defunct Kittrell College. His daughter, Alice Julia Jordan was born on the campus. In 1912 he moved to Greensboro, North Carolina to serve as head of the Department of History and Pedagogy at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical College (now North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University). He was also head of the Teacher's Training School and established numerous training workshops in other states for black educators. In 1915, Jordan was profiled in Who's Who Of The Colored Race." By this time, he had distinguished himself as a prolific writer and commencement speaker. He contributed his articles to such publications as the Atlanta Review, Atlanta Constitution, A.M.E. Review, Indianapolis Review, the Raleigh Independent, and countless others.

On July 14, 1917, the Independent, then owned by black leader Charles N. Hunter published a letter from Jordan to President Woodrow Wilson, speaking out against his policies on African-Americans and condemning the administration for the East St. Louis Riot. Jordan's letter was re-published in newspapers throughout America and attracted nationwide attention. Whites dismissed the letter as "foolish, yet treasonable, dangerous and full of dynamite." Many sought to punish Jordan, though black leaders assured Governor Thomas Bickett at the time that they would handle the situation caused by the letter.

North Carolina College[edit]

Since 1914 Jordan had served simultaneously as an instructor at A&T and at North Carolina College. In 1918, he became head of the Department and Professor of History at what is now North Carolina Central University, and was the only history professor listed at the school until 1939. Jordan also taught government at NCCU until his retirement in 1943. Jordan's home, The Dock J. Jordan House was located on the university campus until it was demolished in the mid-2000s.


Dock Jackson Jordan died on October 20, 1943 and is buried in Beechwood Cemetery in Durham. He was the father of six children: Alice Julia Jordan, Lawrence Jordan, prominent A.M.E. Bishop Frederick Douglass Jordan, Julian Jordan, Frances Marie Jordan and Edwin Adolphis Jordan.


1) "Who's Who On The Colored Race, V1, 1915"

2) "Twentieth Century Negro Literature - By Daniel Wallace Culp"