Julian Bond, charismatic civil rights leader, dies at 75

August 20, 2015


Julian Bond, a charismatic figure of the 1960’s civil rights movement, a lightning rod of the anti-Vietnam War campaign and a lifelong champion of equal rights, notably as chairman of the N.A.A.C.P., died on Saturday, August 15, 2015 in Fort Walton Beach, FL. He was 75. The Southern Poverty Law Center announced Mr. Bond’s death on Sunday. His wife, Pamela Sue Horowitz, said the cause was complications of vascular disease.

Mr. Bond was one of the original leaders of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee while he was a student at Morehouse College in Atlanta. He was the committee’s communications director for five years and deftly guided the national news media toward stories of violence and discrimination as the committee challenged legal segregation in the South’s public facilities. He gradually moved from the militancy of the student group to the leadership of the establishmentarian N.A.A.C.P. Along the way, Mr. Bond was a writer, poet, television commentator, lecturer and college teacher, and persistent opponent of the stubborn remnants of white supremacy. He also served for 20 years in the Georgia General Assembly, mostly in conspicuous isolation from white colleagues who saw him as an interloper and a rabble-rouser.

Mr. Bond’s wit, cool personality and youthful face — he was often called dashing, handsome and urbane — became familiar to millions of television viewers in the 1960s and 1970s. On the strength of his personality and quick intellect, he moved to the center of the civil rights action in Atlanta, the unofficial capital of the movement, at the height of the struggle for racial equality in the early 1960s. Moving beyond demonstrations, Mr. Bond became a founder, with Morris Dees, of the Southern Poverty Law Center, a legal advocacy organization in Montgomery, AL. Mr. Bond was its president from 1971 to 1979 and remained on its board for the rest of his life.

He was nominated, only somewhat seriously, as a candidate for vice president at the 1968 Democratic National Convention, where he was a co-chairman of a racially integrated challenge delegation from Georgia. He declined to pursue a serious candidacy because he was too young to meet the constitutional age requirement, but from that moment on he was a national figure. When he was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives in 1965, along with seven other black members, furious white members of the House refused to let him take his seat, accusing him of disloyalty. He was already well known because of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee’s stand against the United States’ involvement in the Vietnam War.

That touched off a national drama that ended in 1966 when the Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision, ordered the State Assembly to seat him, saying it had denied him freedom of speech. As a lawmaker, he sponsored bills to establish a sickle cell anemia testing program and to provide low-interest home loans to low-income Georgians. He also helped create a majority-black congressional district in Atlanta. He left the State Senate in 1986 after six terms to run for a seat in the United States House. He lost a bitter contest to his old friend John Lewis, a fellow founder of the student committee and its longtime chairman. The two men, for all their earlier closeness in the civil rights movement, represented opposite poles of African American life in the South: Mr. Lewis was the son of a sharecropper; Mr. Bond was the son of a college president.

On Sunday, Mr. Lew- is posted on Twitter: “We went through a difficult pe- riod during our campaign for Congress in 1986, but many years ago we emerged even closer.” In another message, he wrote, “Julian Bond’s leadership and his spirit will be deeply missed.” During the campaign, the United States attorney’s of- fice began investigating Mr. Bond after allegations sur- faced that he had used co- caine. Mr. Bond’s estranged wife, Alice, was said to have told the police confidential- ly that he was a habitual co- caine abuser. She retracted her accusations after Mayor Andrew Young of Atlan- ta, a friend of the family, telephoned her, leading to speculation that improper political pressure had been applied. She later refused to testify before a grand jury, and neither Mr. Bond nor Mr. Young was indicted. Horace Julian Bond was born on Jan. 14, 1940, in Nashville, to Horace Mann Bond and the former Julia Washington. The family moved to Pennsylvania five years later, when Mr. Bond’s father became the first African American president of his alma mater, Lincoln University.

Julian Bond’s great-grand- mother Jane Bond was the slave mistress of a Kentucky farmer. Julian’s grandfather James Bond, one of Jane Bond’s sons, was educated at Berea and Oberlin Colleges and became a clergyman. His son Horace Mann Bond expected his own son Julian to follow in his footsteps as an educator, but the young man was attracted instead to jour- nalism and political activism. At age 12, Julian was sent to the private Quaker-run George School near Philadelphia. It was there that he first encountered racial resentment when he began dating a white girl, incurring the disapproval of white students and the school authorities. He moved back south at age 17 when his father became dean of education at Atlanta University.

At Morehouse College, he plunged into extracurricular activities but paid less attention to his studies. The civil rights movement provided a good excuse to drop out of college in 1961. He returned in the early 1970s to complete his English degree. Dozens of his friends went to jail during his time with Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, but he was arrested only once. In 1960, after word of student sit-ins at lunch counters in Greensboro, NC, spread across the South, Mr. Bond and a few of his friends at Morehouse organized pro- tests against segregated public facilities in Atlanta. He was arrested when he led a sit-in at the City Hall cafeteria. D u r i n g this period, he and some fellow black s t u d e n t s had an early experience with racism in the Geor- gia House of Repre- sentatives. They visited there one day and sat in the whites-only visitors’ section. The Capitol police escorted them out.

Mr. Bond devoted most of the 1960s to the protest movement and activist politics, including campaigns to register black voters. Both he and Mr. Lewis left the student committee after its leadership was taken over by black power advocates who forced whites out of the organization. He prospered on the lecture circuit the rest of his life. He became a regular commentator in print and on television, including as host of “America’s Black Forum,” then the oldest black-owned television program in syndication. His most unusual television appearance was in April 1977, when he hosted an episode of “Saturday Night Live.” In later years, he taught at Harvard, Williams, Drexel and the University of Pennsylvania.

He was a distinguished scholar in residence at American University in Washington and a professor of history at the University of Virginia, where he was co-director of the oral his- tory project Explorations in Black Leadership. Mr. Bond published a book of essays titled “A Time to This month this writer has been concentrating on the discipline of patiently waiting on God and resting in the presence of God. Resting is not idleness. When you relax in God’s company as you wait for God to answer your prayers, you are showing how much you trust God. This week, let’s explore how waiting forces a believer to look to God. When the assured believer patiently waits on God, they are forced to fix their eyes on God. The writer of Hebrews notes: “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” – Hebrews 12:2 (KJV) Waiting patiently on God forces us to cast our attention and our eyes on God and off the trouble, circumstance or situation. Looking to Jesus reminds the believer of the assurance we have in Jesus the Christ. As the believer looks to the Christ, they are looking with spiritual sight – with the eye of understanding and faith.

God’s people should always be looking to Jesus, our Savior and Lord. A believer’s heart is filled with joy as they fix their eyes on the Savior who endured the shame and has now taken His place on the right hand of the Father in heaven to give repentance and offer forgiveness of our sins. A devotion in “Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace In His Presence” includes this beautiful devotion which this writer would like to share with you: Rest with me awhile… The way ahead is shrouded in uncertainty. Look neither behind you nor before you. Instead, focus your attention on Me, your constant Companion. Trust that I will equip you fully for whatever awaits you on your journey. I designed time to be a protection for you. You couldn’t bear to see all your life at once. Though I am unlimited by time, it is in the present moment that I meet you. Refresh yourself in My Company, breathing deep draughts of My Presence. The highest level of trust is to enjoy Me moment by moment. I am with you, watching over you wherever you go. (June 27, p. 186).

Beloved, it is this writer’s prayer that as you wait on God, allow this article to remind you of the blessing of waiting patiently and be encouraged as you continue to wait. Next Week: Conclusion – How waiting strengthens The writer does not assume responsibility in any way for readers’ efforts to apply or utilize information or recommendations made in these articles, as they may not be necessarily appropriate for every situation to which they may refer. If you would like to contact Rev. Lester, write to her c/o P.O. Box 121, Brookfield, WI. 53008. When Hip Hop matters I know that the founding fathers of our great country did not see this coming… not at all… and perhaps they would be just as lost as many of us baby boomers are today in understanding and embracing the world of “Hip Hop.” It is not just the music; but it is a culture all to itself. I know what you are thinking and I am with you… as a baby boomer myself, I find it hard to put my hands around this new culture at times, its style, flavor and message…and that is putting it mildly.

What began as an organic cultural expression that has its roots in other music genres of African Americans including slave songs, Negro spirituals, blues, ragtime, jazz, boogie woogie, rhythm and blues, doo-wop, rock and roll, soul, funk, and disco, “Hip Hop” continues to evolve. Just like the musical genres that preceded it, “Hip Hop” has become more than just a musical expression; it has become a way of life for a newer and younger generation. It has affected us all. What a phenomenon! Its growth and expansion has become so big that it has sparked a new movement and created a cultural shift that continues to shape and reshape the way things are viewed, marketed and remembered. It has changed our music, language, technology, dress codes and now generates more than $10 billion per year. Hip Hop is not just an African American thing; it has impacted the entire nation, future generations, but also the global community. It has moved beyond its musical roots of rap, rhyming speech that is chanted, DJing/scratching, break dancing and graffiti writing. It has transformed into a dominant and ever increasingly lucrative lifestyle. It’s a lifestyle that has sparked the creation of new industries within fashion, accessories, foods, hair styles, cars, houses and new technologies.

For those who see this “Hip Hop” culture as a bad thing and at times some of it has been destructive, but I see something more…much more. Before this “Hip Hop” culture passes the torch to the next musical genre era… it has also becoming a movement that is inspiring people to vote, become active in civil rights, politics, economic development, better housing, expanded health care for all, improving the quality of education and most of all… it is helping to build some self-respect, self-esteem and self-worth. It one thing to become rich from this moment in the movement… it’s another thing to help others to improve the quality of their lives before it ends. What do you think? Dr. Andrew Calhoun, can be contacted at andrewiiicalhoun@gmail.com, and Facebook. You can hear Dr. Calhoun each Sunday at Grace Fellowship Church, 3879 N. Port Washington Rd. Milwaukee 414-688-4964.

The opinions expressed in this editorial are those of the writer and not of the Milwaukee Times Weekly Newspaper or NCON Communication, its staff or management. “Rebuilding Our Community” is a weekly column exclusive to the Milwaukee Times Weekly Newspaper. Speak, a Time to Act” in 1972. He wrote poetry, much of it reflecting the pained point of view of a repressed minority, and articles for publications as varied as The Nation, Negro Digest and Playboy. He was made chairman of the N.A.A.C.P. in 1998. He remained active in Democratic Party politics and was a strong critic of the administration of President George W. Bush. In addition to Ms. Horowitz, his second wife and a former lawyer for the Southern Poverty Law Center, he is survived by three sons, Horace Mann Bond II, Jeffrey and Michael; two daughters, Phyllis Jane Bond McMillan and Julia Louise Bond; a sister, Jane; a brother, James; and eight grandchildren. In a statement on Sunday, President Obama called Mr. Bond “a hero and, I’m privileged to say, a friend.” “Justice and equality was the mission that spanned his life,” Mr. Obama said. “Julian Bond helped change this country for the better. And what better way to be remembered than that.”