Remembering another American Hero

Julian BondAmerica has lost another hero and so have I; Julian Bond died on August 15. Julian Bond had an impressive resume in the Civil Rights movement, beginning when he was 17 and ending only with his death. I became aware of Julian Bond when I was still in college and followed his work  for the rest of his life.

My strongest connection with Bond began with his leadership, along with Morris Dees and Joseph J. Levin Jr. of the Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil rights law firm based in Montgomery in 1971. At the beginning, the center and its small staff of lawyers and civil rights advocates focused on filing civil suits for damages done by the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacists groups.  I vividly remember reading in their newsletters about blacks being lynched and pulled down the road tied to the backs of trucks, as well as  about much feared cross-burnings.

Over the years the Southern Poverty Law Center has become involved in other civil rights causes, among them, cases concerned with institutional racial segregation and discrimination, discrimination based on sexual orientation, the mistreatment of undocumented immigrants, and the separation of church and state. Bond served as director of the Center from between 1971 -79 and later joined its board.

Bond’s other civil rights activities including helping to organize the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).  He was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives and stepped into the national spot light after being refused his seat because of his anti-war stance on Vietnam.  He took his seat two years later after a U.S. Supreme Court Decision He also served in the George Senate for six terms. In 1968, he led a delegation to the 1968 Democratic National Convention, where his name was placed in nomination for the vice presidency but he declined because he was too young. In 1998 he was elected as board chairman for the NAACP, serving for ten years.

According to former Ambassador Andrew Young, Bond’s legacy would be as a “lifetime struggler. He started when he was about 17 and he went to 75 andJulian Bond 2 I don’t know a single time when he was not involved in some phase of the civil rights movement.”Intellectual and telegen- nic, Bond was known for his even emotional keel, and could be depended upon not to lose his cool even in the most emotional situations, Young said. “I could usually find when everybody else was getting worked up, I could find in Julian a cool serious analysis of what was going on,” Young said.

In announcing his death, a spokesperson for the Southern Poverty Law Center said that Bond was a “visionary” and “tireless champion” for civil and human rights. With Julian’s passing, the country has lost one of its most passionate and eloquent voices for the cause of justice”

*image of Julian Bond by bcnn2.com; image of quote by azquotes.com

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