The NAACP mourns the passing of Chairman Julian Bond, civil rights titan and our brother. May he rest in eternal peace.
This was a tweet received Sunday from NAACP. The NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest grassroots–based civil rights organization. Over 1,000 volunteer-run branches nationwide.
The founding president of the Southern Poverty Law Center and a major civil rights activist, Julian Bond, died Saturday after a short illness according to reports. He was 75.
Julian Bond was part of a small group of students who were taught by the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at Morehouse College in 1962. In 1965, Bond was elected to the Georgia State House of Representatives, but the other representatives in the House refused to let him take his seat as retribution for opposing the Vietnam War. The Supreme Court resolved the matter the next year by ruling that the state house had violated Bond’s freedom of speech.
Bond didn’t just fight for the civil rights of African-Americans. He was known to stand up for various oppressed groups both within the United States and abroad. In 1985, he was arrested for protesting against Apartheid outside the South African Embassy in Washington D.C. In later years, Bond was an outspoken advocate for marriage equality and civil rights for the LGBTQ community. In a 2012 interview with Anderson Cooper on CNN, he pushed back against the notion that some African-Americans had that the Civil Rights Movement was being appropriated by gays and lesbians.
“We ought to be happy when other people, including gays and lesbians and many other people, have imitated the black movement for human rights,” Bond said. “They’ve adopted our songs: we ought to be happy. They’ve adopted our slogans: we ought to be happy. They’ve adopted the way in which we went about it, in a non-violent way, generally speaking: we ought to be proud of that, that we served as an example to others. And when others imitate what we did, to gain their rights, we ought to be first in line to say, ‘Can I help you? You help me. Can I help you?'”
After serving in the Georgia State House, Bond went on to serve in the United States Senate. He chaired the NAACP from 1998 until 2010. He was also a professor at several universities, including Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania. The NAACP tweeted a statement regarding his passing this morning.