Julian Bond, a key civil rights activist and anti-war campaigner who helped found the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee and later served for years as the chairman of the NAACP, has died last night at the age 75 at his home in Ft. Walton Beach.
In statement released this morning from the Southern Poverty Law Center they announced his death.
“With Julian’s passing, the country has lost one of its most passionate and eloquent voices for the cause of justice,” the center’s statement read. “He advocated not just for African Americans, but for every group, indeed every person subject to oppression and discrimination, because he recognized the common humanity in us all.”
Meanwhile, the Associated Press writes: “The Nashville, Tenn., native was considered a symbol and icon of the 1960s civil rights movement. As a Morehouse College student, Bond helped found [SNCC] and as its communications director, he was on the front lines of protests that led to the nation’s landmark civil rights laws.”
Many recall that Bond played a major role in sit-ins and freedom rides and the 1963 March on Washington.
Those waking up in New York read the Times who said this: “He moved from the militancy of the student group to the top leadership of the establishmentarian N.A.A.C.P. Along the way, he was a writer, poet, television commentator, lecturer, college teacher, and persistent opponent of the stubborn remnants of white supremacy.”
The Times noted that back when he was elected to the Georgia Legislature in 1965, the chamber refused to seat him, citing his support for a group that called U.S. actions in Vietnam “murder.” He took the fight all the way to the Supreme Court, which ultimately ruled in his favor. The Times notes that he spent his two decades in the state’s legislature, “mostly in conspicuous isolation from white colleagues who saw him as an interloper and a rabble-rouser.”
Back in 1986, Bond ran against his long-time friend and SNCC co-founder John Lewis to represent Georgia’s 5th Congressional District, but was narrowly defeated in runoff.
When asked about Bond’s legacy, Lewis said: “Julian must be remembered as having inspired another generation of young people to stand up, to speak up and speak out. He traveled all over America, speaking on college campuses, but also to large groups for peace, for non-violence and for protecting the environment.”
Bond served for a decade as board chairman of the 500,000-member NAACP, declining to run again in 2010. He is survived by his wife, Pamela Horowitz, and five children.