ATLANTA (AP) — Julian Bond’s life traced the arc of the civil rights movement, from his efforts as a militant young man to start a student protest group all the way to the top leadership post at the NAACP.
Year after year, the calm, telegenic Bond was one of the nation’s most poetic voices for equality, inspiring fellow activists with his words in the 1960s and sharing the movement’s vision with succeeding generations as a speaker and academic. He died Saturday at August 15, 2015.
Former Ambassador Andrew Young said Bond’s legacy would be as a “lifetime struggler.”
“He started when he was about 17 and he went to 75,” Young said. “And I don’t know a single time when he was not involved in some phase of the civil rights movement.”
Bond died in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, after a brief illness, according to a statement issued Sunday by the Southern Poverty Law Center, an advocacy group that he founded in 1971 and helped oversee for the rest of his life. His wife, Pamela Horowitz, said Bond suffered from vascular disease.
Her husband, she said, “never took his eyes off the prize and that was always racial equality.”
The son of a college president burst into the national consciousness after helping to start the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, where he rubbed shoulders with committee leaders Stokely Carmichael and John Lewis. As the committee grew into one of the movement’s most important groups, the young Bond dropped out of Morehouse College in Atlanta to serve as communications director. He later returned and completed his degree in 1971.