Legacy of Honorable Julian Bond

Maria Scruggs

Dear Editor,

August 15, 2015, the Honorable Julian Bond received his reward after a life-long fight for social justice when he transcended this life to his heavenly home.

In 1965, Bond was voted into the Georgia House of Representatives; however, the state congressional body refused to swear him into his seat as a result of his Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee endorsement denouncing the Vietnam War.  Martin Luther King, Jr. organized a protest rally on Bond’s behalf and as a result the U.S. Supreme Court made a unanimous decision on Bond’s behalf, ruling that his comments fell under his constitutional right of freedom of speech.

Bond was finally able to take his seat in the Georgia House of Representatives in 1967. He served in the House until 1975, and went on to serve in the Georgia Senate from 1975 to 1986. During his tenure in the state legislature, Bond wrote over 60 bills that were ratified as law.

Bond attended the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago where he was nominated as a vice-presidential candidate. He was the first African American to receive the honor, but withdrew his name because he was not old enough to hold the office according to constitutional guidelines.

From 1971 to 1979, Bond served as president of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization he also co-founded.  In 1986, Bond entered a Democratic primary to run for the U.S. House of Representatives in Georgia. He lost the heavily contested race to John Lewis, another civil rights leader and former SNCC member.

Bond was president of Atlanta’s branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) before becoming the chairman of the National NAACP Board of Directors, a position he held from 1998 until 2010. He continued to be a prominent voice in the media and was a commentator for NBC’s Today show, wrote a national newspaper column and produced poems that have appeared in publications such as the Nation and the New York Times. He was also a professor of history at the University of Virginia and an adjunct professor at American University.

He decreed that your membership to the NAACP was your voice, and in honor of Bond’s legacy, the national Membership/Life Membership Chair, Ophelia Averitt, is challenging each local NAACP Branch to recruit 20 new and lapsed memberships between Sept. 7 and Oct. 31!

What a way for St. Petersburg to let the national office know we mean business by exceeding the goal of 20 to 75, which was the age in which Bond made his final transition.

To ensure the St. Petersburg Branch receives credit, please direct your memberships through the St. Petersburg membership chair, Harry Harvey who can be reached at:  Harryciara@aol.com  or (727) 385-3364.

Adult membership 18 and older is $30.00; youth membership 17 and under is $10.00.

~ Maria L. Scruggs, President St. Petersburg Branch, NAACP

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