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A Conversation with Civil Rights Icon, Julian Bond

Nov 20, 2012

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Famed civil rights leader, social activist, politician, writer, and professor, Julian Bond, spoke at the Woodrow Wilson School on November 20, 2012, as part of the School’s “Social Movements” thematic lecture series. Julian Bond’s dedication to civil rights began in the late 1950s when he was a student at Morehouse College in Atlanta, helping to organize the “Committee on Appeal for Human Rights.” The committee was involved in various nonviolent protests that helped lead to the integration of the city of Atlanta’s theaters, lunch counters, and parks. In early 1960, Bond joined other college students in forming the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), whose members worked with local communities in establishing grassroots support for the civil rights movement. In 1971, Bond became the first president of the Southern Poverty Law Center – the civil rights organization dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry, and through litigation seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of society. In 1965, Bond was elected to the Georgia legislature, but his outspoken objections to the Vietnam War, resulted in the legislature to deny Bond his seating. Bond was elected to the seat three times, only to have the legislature to ignore the election results and refuse him a seat in the legislature. Finally in 1966, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the actions of the Georgia legislature were unconstitutional and Bond was sworn in as a member of the legislature and went on to officially serve in the Georgia House of Representatives from 1967-1974. Bond then went on to serve as member of the Georgia Senate from 1975-1987. From 1998 to 2010, Bond was the chairman of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).