I was shocked, saddened and broken hearted today when I heard of the sudden death of Julian Bond. The impact of his passing cannot truly be measured. He was a friend and fellow traveler on the road of racial justice who, with courage and wisdom, set the moral and academic tone for our generation.
He was a scholar, activist and global peace leader. He set the moral and academic tone of our generation of student activists. He raised high the moral chin bar. His father and professor Dr. Horace Mann Bond paved the way.
First, as secretary of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), he chronicled our work and students all across the South and the nation came alive. He, along with John Lewis, Ivanhoe Donaldson, Marian Wright-Edelman, James Bevel and Bernard Lafayette were transformers.
He fought to end legal segregation in the South and fought for the right to vote for people of color. He taught voter education in the Deep South amidst danger. He became a Georgia state representative, but was denied his seat because of his strong opposition to the Vietnam War. He would not bow. Muhammad Ali and others followed the trail blazed by Julian Bond.
At the Democratic National Convention in Chicago in 1968, Julian Bond was nominated to be the vice presidential nominee for the party. But in a gracious, but humorous, manner Mr. Bond declined the nomination saying that he was too young – i.e., he did not meet the age qualification.
Julian Bond was not only an educator, a fighter for political rights and domestic justice but he was a global warrior as well. He spoke out early against South African apartheid and advocated for the release of Nelson Mandela from prison.
He was very close to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. When Julian cast his ballot, he was more than a champion. He was a hero. When champions win, they ride the shoulders of the people. When heroes win people ride their shoulders.
We will always be indebted to Julian Bond who led a long life of distinguished service, including a decade of service as chairman of the NAACP.
When the Rainbow PUSH Coalition called on him for support in adding a right to vote amendment to the US Constitution he was a willing endorser and supporter.
Julian…well done good and faithful servant! RIP #JulianBond. #KEEPHOPEALIVE Love you guys!