B. Everett Jordan

B. Everett Jordan

Benjamin Everett Jordan (September 8, 1896March 15, 1974) was a Democratic U.S. Senator from the state of North Carolina from 1958 until 1973. He lived most of his life in Alamance County, North Carolina.

Born in Randolph County, North Carolina, Jordan served overseas in the United States Army during World War I. In the 1920s, he entered the textile business when an uncle asked him to run a recently purchased mill in Saxapahaw, North Carolina, renamed Sellers Manufacturing Co. Eventually, Jordan bought the mill and ran it successfully for decades, turning management over to his sons, Benjamin Everett Jordan, Jr., and John M. Jordan, while attending to his duties in the Senate. He became increasingly active in the North Carolina Democratic Party. He attended Duke University, which later awarded him an honorary doctoral degree.

When Senator W. Kerr Scott died in office in 1958, Governor Luther Hodges appointed Jordan to the seat, to which he was elected by the people shortly thereafter. He was re-elected to the Senate in 1960 and 1966. In the latter year, Jordan defeated the Republican John Shallcross, 501,440 (55.6 percent) to 400,502 (44.4 percent). Jordan was unseated in the 1972 Democratic primary by Congressman Nick Galifianakis of Durham. Jordan polled only 44.6 percent in the primary, to 55.5 percent for Galifianakis. At the time, Jordan was 76 and his health was beginning to fail; Jordan died in 1974. Like most southern senators, he was a supporter of segregation.

In a move unusual for a southern senator, Jordan, who had supported the Gulf of Tonkin resolution in 1964, later joined a majority of senators in calling for American forces to be brought home. At this, his senior colleague, Sam Ervin, asked him, "Everett, have you lost your mind?"

B. Everett Jordan Lake, in Chatham County, North Carolina, is named for Senator Jordan, as well as the elementary school in Saxapahaw, North Carolina, B. Everett Jordan Elementary School, part of the Alamance-Burlington School System.

He was married to Katherine McLean Jordan. He had two sons and one daughter, Roseanne Jordan Gant.

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