I remember Julian Bond. In the summer of 1966, I was in a workshop he taught on techniques to manage demonstrators committing nonviolent civil disobedience, so that their resistance was completely passive. This makes it obvious to onlookers that the police violence against us was the only violence. The three things about him that stood out to me were that he was an intellectual giant, he was a compassionate soul, and he made us understand that what we had to say was important to him. His life makes him worthy of mourning from us all.
Here is his early history.
Born: January 14, 1940
African American civil rights leader, political activist, and politician
J ulian Bond is a civil rights leader, political activist, and politician who has spent most of his life fighting for equality in America. He has remained committed to the causes he believes in since joining the civil rights movement as a young college student.
Family and education
Horace Julian Bond, born on January 14, 1940, in Nashville, Tennessee, was the descendant of several generations of black educators and preachers. When his father Horace Mann Bond became president of Lincoln University in Oxford, Pennsylvania, the family moved into an environment that was mostly white. While in Oxford, the elder Bond caused a stir because of his protests against segregated facilities (people being required to use different facilities based on their race) and white attitudes of racial superiority. Young Julian, however, adjusted relatively easily to his new environment. He attended elementary school with white children and won the sixth grade award for being the brightest student in the class. He was sent to George School, near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for his high-school education. He encountered a few instances of racial prejudice (being judged because of his race) during these years, but on the whole he adjusted well to the academic environment—although his grades were only average.
His father later became president of Atlanta University and the family moved to Atlanta, Georgia. Despite rumors of racial unrest, Bond decided to attend Morehouse College in Atlanta after his graduation from high school. Bond started college in 1957.
Early involvement in the civil rights movement
At Morehouse, Bond became the coordinator and spokesman for civil rights demonstrations. He started an Atlanta student civil rights group called the Committee on Appeal for Human Rights.
In 1960 Ella Baker (1903–1986), secretary of the civil rights organization known as the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) invited students to meet at Shaw University, in Raleigh, North Carolina, to coordinate their efforts. Martin Luther King Jr. (1929–1968), president of the SCLC, and Reverend James Lawson Jr., a believer in nonviolent resistance, spoke to the students and invited them to join the SCLC. Instead of joining the SCLC, several hundred students, including Bond, decided to form their own organization. They called their organization the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).
Bond was appointed communications director for the SNCC. He kept this position from 1960 until 1966. He became very active in the SNCC, dropped out of college, and did not complete his degree at Morehouse until 1971.
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Click through for the remainder of his history. It’s worth the read.
I have seen several video tributes to him from which to choose, but I found one of the shortest the most compelling.
Julian Bond left us a worthy example for all activists to follow. Human rights are civil rights and we must all work together to defend and extend the the rights we all share.