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Robert H. Jordan, Jr.

WGN-TV News anchorman Robert Jordan was born Robert Howard Jordan, Jr. on August 31, 1943 in Atlanta, Georgia to Millicent Dobbs Jordan, a college professor, and Robert H. Jordan, Sr., a dentist. Jordan began his career in broadcast journalism by serving as a booth announcer for WSM-TV in Nashville, Tennessee. That same year, he was married to Sharon E. Lundy. Then, in 1973 he was hired as a general assignment reporter for WGN-TV in Chicago, Illinois. Jordan worked for the WGN-TV One o’clock news while pursuing his B.A. degree at Roosevelt University in Chicago.

After graduating from Roosevelt University in 1977, Jordan joined the CBS News Midwest bureau in Chicago. He worked there for two years, covering stories throughout the Midwest, for the Evening News with Walter Cronkite. In 1980, Jordan returned to WGN-TV’s news team where he wrote and produced several stories including a documentary on the Atlanta Child Murders. He also went on to write a series on the nationalization of the U.S. dollar entitled “Peso Rich; Dollar Poor”. During the 1980s, Jordan served as a board member and trustee for the Chicago Sinfonietta, John Shedd Aquarium (where he currently continues to be an active trustee) and Evanston Hospital.

In 1994, Jordan decided to further his education by earning his M.A. degree in speech from Northeastern Illinois University. He would later earn his Ph.D. in philosophy of education with a minor in ethics in 2000, from Loyola University Chicago.

Aside from working as an anchorman, Jordan has written two screenplays, Anthony’s Key and Multiman. In 1995, he joined the board of the Safer Foundation and the following year, Jordan became a board member at the Night Ministry. He founded his own production company, Jordan & Jordan Communications, Inc. in 1997.

Jordan lives with his wife, Sharon, in Lincolnwood, Illinois. They have one daughter, Karen, also a reporter/anchor in Chicago. Her husband, Christian Farr, is a reporter/anchor with the PBS station in Chicago.

Jordan was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 18, 2007.

Accession Number

A2008.018

Sex

Male

Interview Date

2/18/2008

Last Name

Jordan

Maker Category
Middle Name

H.

Schools

David T. Howard High School

Henry McNeal Turner High School

Nathan Bedford Forrest Elementary School

Ford Green Elementary School

Roosevelt University

Northeastern Illinois University

Loyola University Chicago

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Robert

Birth City, State, Country

Atlanta

HM ID

JOR05

Favorite Season

Fall, Spring

State

Georgia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Cuba, Paris, France

Favorite Quote

God Gave Us Memory So That We Might Have Roses In December.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

8/31/1943

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Thai Food

Short Description

Television news anchor Robert H. Jordan, Jr. (1943 - ) was an anchor and reporter for WGN-TV News in Chicago, Illinois. He founded his own production company and has written two screenplays.

Employment

CBS

WGN TV

WSM-TV

Meharry Medical College

Jordan and Jordan Communications, Inc.

Favorite Color

Green

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Robert H. Jordan, Jr.'s interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Robert H. Jordan, Jr. lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Robert H. Jordan, Jr. talks about his maternal grandfather, John Wesley Dobbs

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Robert H. Jordan, Jr. talks about the history of the Pullman Company

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Robert H. Jordan, Jr. describes his maternal grandfather's travels

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Robert H. Jordan, Jr. talks about the history of Auburn Avenue in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Robert H. Jordan, Jr. recalls his maternal grandfather's emphasis on education

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Robert H. Jordan, Jr. lists his maternal family members, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Robert H. Jordan, Jr. lists his maternal family members, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Robert H. Jordan, Jr. remembers living with his maternal grandfather, John Wesley Dobbs

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Robert H. Jordan, Jr. describes his maternal grandfather's childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Robert H. Jordan, Jr. describes his mother's upbringing

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Robert H. Jordan, Jr. recalls his maternal family's Sunday dinners

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Robert H. Jordan, Jr. talks about his mother's interest in African art

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Robert H. Jordan, Jr. recalls his mother's demonstration at Spelman College

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Robert H. Jordan, Jr. describes his father's family background

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Robert H. Jordan, Jr. describes his father's upbringing

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Robert H. Jordan, Jr. describes how his parents met

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Robert H. Jordan, Jr. describes his parents' personalities and his likeness to them

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Robert H. Jordan, Jr. describes his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Robert H. Jordan, Jr. describes the smells and sounds of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Robert H. Jordan, Jr. remembers the First Congregational Church of Atlanta

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Robert H. Jordan, Jr. describes his religious philosophy

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Robert H. Jordan, Jr. describes his family's religious activities

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Robert H. Jordan, Jr. recalls his early interest in sports

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Robert H. Jordan, Jr. remembers his parents' employment in Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Robert H. Jordan, Jr. recalls returning with his family to Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Robert H. Jordan, Jr. recalls his early interest in music

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Robert H. Jordan, Jr. remembers playing varsity basketball with Walt Frazier

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Robert H. Jordan, Jr. describes the basketball court at his home in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Robert H. Jordan, Jr. remembers his early interest in biology

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Robert H. Jordan, Jr. remembers meeting his wife

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Robert H. Jordan, Jr. remembers being drafted into the Vietnam War

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Robert H. Jordan, Jr. recalls serving with the U.S. Army in Puerto Rico

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Robert H. Jordan, Jr. remembers working at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Robert H. Jordan, Jr. recalls his start in the broadcasting industry

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Robert H. Jordan, Jr. talks about his marriage

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Robert H. Jordan, Jr. recalls moving to Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Robert H. Jordan, Jr. describes his experiences as a television reporter in Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Robert H. Jordan, Jr. remembers the civil unrest of 1968

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Robert H. Jordan, Jr. remembers developing an appreciation of country music

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Robert H. Jordan, Jr. describes the changes in the media industry

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Robert H. Jordan, Jr. talks about diversity in the television industry

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Robert H. Jordan, Jr. describes the lack of diversity among broadcast executives

Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Robert H. Jordan, Jr. recalls his transition to WBBM-TV in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Robert H. Jordan, Jr. remembers reporting for the 'CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite'

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Robert H. Jordan, Jr. recalls a memorable news report

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Robert H. Jordan, Jr. describes his pursuit of higher education

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Robert H. Jordan, Jr. talks about his dissertation research

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Robert H. Jordan, Jr. describes the television news industry's crime coverage

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Robert H. Jordan, Jr. describes his reporting style

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Robert H. Jordan, Jr. talks about the anchors and audience of WGN-TV

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Robert H. Jordan, Jr. talks about WGN-TV's worldwide popularity

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Robert H. Jordan, Jr. reflects upon his life

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Robert H. Jordan, Jr. describes his organizational involvement

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Robert H. Jordan, Jr. remembers founding Jordan and Jordan Communications, Inc.

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Robert H. Jordan, Jr. describes his concerns for the African American community, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Robert H. Jordan, Jr. describes his concerns for the African American community, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Robert H. Jordan, Jr. remembers writing about his cancer treatment

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Robert H. Jordan, Jr. talks about his daughter

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Robert H. Jordan, Jr. talks about the importance of The HistoryMakers

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Robert H. Jordan, Jr. describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Robert H. Jordan, Jr. narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$3

DAStory

7$10

DATitle
Robert H. Jordan, Jr. recalls his maternal grandfather's emphasis on education
Robert H. Jordan, Jr. remembers meeting his wife
Transcript
He [Jordan's maternal grandfather] was known to walk from one part of Auburn Avenue to the next, stopping in stores and talking to people, he'd go in the barbershop. I can, to this day, remember him in the barbershop and he would be there, and there'd be some discussion going about something and he get in--these would be heated discussions and he was almost preaching. But he was a scholarly gentleman who had a library in his home, the first home that I can remember going in that had a library. My father [Robert H. Jordan, Sr.] had a library, my mother [Millicent Dobbs Jordan] had a library and I have a library. And books have been important to all of us and learning and reading. And so, I mean, here's a man who was born the son of slaves but had enough savvy to realize the importance of books and learning and reading that he had a library in his home. And so, he was well known up and down the strip of Auburn Avenue, and gave it the name Sweet Auburn [Atlanta, Georgia], which lives to this day. So, if there was an unofficial mayor of Auburn Avenue, it was probably John Wesley Dobbs. So, that was how he was so well known. Amassed a fair amount of money from his speaking engagements traveling all the time, driving to churches and places all over the South. So he lived comfortably. He had six daughters, no boys. He adopted a boy later on who was kind of adopted from some other family. But, all of his daughters, he was able to put through Spelman College [Atlanta, Georgia] and graduate school, and some post-graduate school. But this was almost unheard of at that time, I mean, most black people didn't even go to college or many didn't even go to finish high school. We're talking about a time, when most colored people didn't finish high school, he was sending his daughters on to graduate school. So, it was quite an accomplishment, and they all did well and all married well. And that helped to continue the growth of the family in prosperity. And his values and principles of education and church and civic affiliations, and giving back to the community, all of that continued through his progeny which were his six daughters. And they in turn were able to pass that on to my generation, and we, hopefully, have continued to pass it on through our generations.$So you graduated from Turner High School [Henry McNeal Turner High School, Atlanta, Georgia] then (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Right.$$--in '61 [1961]?$$That's right.$$Okay. All right.$$But I'll backup, I'll tell you an interesting story. In the marching band, we used to go to Fort Valley, Georgia every year for a big band concert. And there would be marching bands from all over the state and they would convene in Fort Valley, Georgia for a day of marching and we'd have our concert season there as well. But we--the big triple-A school, the triple-A schools in Atlanta [Georgia] would march through first and then the smaller schools would follow. And I remember my junior year, we'd already marched into an area there in Fort Valley and I walked back out to watch some of the other schools come by. And I saw this majorette. I looked at this woman when she walked by and I thought, ah, be still my heart.$$(Cough).$$Yeah, I know, man. It's nothing worse than that. So, let me back up. The marching bands would go to Fort Valley, Georgia in the spring for our concert season and to march. (Background noise) And I remember seeing the--(laughter) let me go back once more.$$(TAPE INTERRUPTION)$$(OFF CAMERA VOICE): And speed.$$When I was in high school, the marching bands would have a big convocation each spring and they'd meet in Fort Valley, Georgia, which is in central Georgia outside Macon [Georgia]. We'd have our concert season there and then we'd watch the other bands as they'd march around. I walked out to watch some of the other Georgia high schools walk by and I saw this majorette. This girl went marching by and I looked and I couldn't believe my eyes. If there is such a thing as love at first sight, it happened. I became haunted by this woman. Because I walked along the sidewalk following them just looking at her. And, finally, they marched on out of sight, I never saw her again. But her image was burned in my mind and I never forgot it. At least I thought I hadn't forgotten it. So, anyway, two years later I graduate from Turner High School, I go to Morehouse [Morehouse College, Atlanta, Georgia] and with my buddies we would always go over and hang out at Spelman [Spelman College, Atlanta, Georgia], the women's institution right across the street. So, I'm over there and we're kind of sitting on the railing watching all the girls walk by, heading to the cafeteria in the afternoon. Who should walk by but the majorette that I had seen two years earlier. I didn't know it, but something in my subconscious knew it. Because I saw her and again I was thunderstruck, and I kind of (makes sound), she just kind of looked at me and walked on by and ignored me. But I went after her and I, you know, kept finding--had to find out "Who, who is that?" Said, "That's Sharon Lundy [Sharon Lundy Jordan]." "Sharon Lundy, huh? Man!" So I tracked her down. Come to find out, she was in one of my mother's [Millicent Dobbs Jordan] classes. And in a few--I didn't get to catch up with her until a few months later and a few girlfriends later (laughter) but I eventually did. Found out that she was from Waycross, Georgia. I remembered it was Center High [Center High School, Waycross, Georgia] when they came marching by and sure enough that was Sharon that I had seen marching by two years earlier and who had haunted me for all that time, the mystery woman. And we ended up dating for a number of years and a long time, and eventually got married. And we've been married now thirty-seven years.$$That's quite a story.$$Yeah (laughter).$$Okay, Waycross, Georgia, that's where [HistoryMaker] Ossie Davis is from.$$That's right, he sure is. Very good.