Civil rights icon Julian Bond unexpectedly passed away in his Florida home on August 15 after suffering from a brief unnamed illness. He was 75 years old.
For many, Bond is best known for co-founding the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in the ‘60s, an organization that played a pivotal role in fighting for the rights of African Americans. He was actually one of the students taught at Atlanta’s Morehouse College by Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. It was there that he first got involved in the civil rights movement that overtook the South during the 1960s.
In 1965, Bond was elected into the Georgia House of Representatives and in 1968, he became the very first African American to receive a proposal for the vice presidential nomination for a major party at the Democratic Convention. Although he declined (he was too young for office at the time), he was often pegged throughout the 1970s and early 1980s as a possible candidate for vice presidency.
Aside from politics, Julian Bond also dabbled in entertainment. He was the host of the second season of Saturday Night Live in 1977 and played a small role in the 1977 film Greased Lightning. Bond also narrated the award-winning civil rights documentary Eyes on the Prize and was the anchor of America’s Black Forum, a syndicated news show, from 1980 to 1997.
Since the news of Bond’s death, many celebrities and politicians alike have spoken out to express their thoughts and share their condolences. “Julian bond was a hero and, I’m privileged to say, a friend,” President Barack Obama said in his statement. “Julian Bond helped change this country for the better. And what better way to be remembered than that.”
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton and his wife, presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton, also released a statement: “Julian helped us to become a more perfect union and always pushed us to do better. We will miss him.”
Bond leaves behind his wife and five children.
Karimi, F., “Julian Bond, civil rights leader and former NAACP chairman, dies at 75,” CNN web site, August 17, 2015; http://goo.gl/nC188K.