The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has announced that legendary Civil Rights Activist Julian Bond passed away last August 15 in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. He was 75 years old.
Bond served as the president of SPLC when it was founded in 1971 until 1979. Afterwards, he became a member of its board of directors. He was a great supporter and promoter of civil and human rights.
Bond’s wife of 24 years, Pamela Horowitz, learned of his passing when a nurse stopped her as she was leaving the intensive care unit, according to The Washington Post. The nurse had told Horowitz that it was a “privilege” to have been able to take care of Bond and that he was a hero to a gay American like her.
Bond spent his life fighting against discrimination and oppression. He also supported every gay couple’s right to get married. According to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Bond was also one of the founding leaders of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee while he was attending the Morehouse College in Atlanta. He served as the committee’s communications director for five years.
During his years with the SNCC, Bond led a number of students protests against segregation in public facilities in Georgia. After he graduated, Bond also helped establish the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Bond could have been United States vice president
Around the same time, Bond was also elected to the Georgia House of Representatives where he served from 1965 to 1975. Moreover, he also served six terms in the Georgia Senate between 1975 and 1986. In 1968, Bond became the first African-American to be nominated as Vice President of the United States. However, he withdrew his nomination as he was still too young to serve.
Meanwhile, Bond spent the 80’s and 90’s teaching in an number of universities, including University of Pennsylvania, University of Virgina, Drexel, Williams, American and Harvard. Bond was elected Board Chairman of the NAACP in 1998. At the time of his passing, Bond was the NAACP Chairman Emeritus.
On Sunday, President Obama said he is “privileged” to call Bond “a friend.” Moreover, Obama also said, “Julian Bond helped change this country for the better. And what better way to be remembered than that.”
Bond is survived by his second wife Pamela Sue Horowitz; sons Horace Mann Bond II, Jeffrey and Michael; daughters Phyllis Jane Bond McMillan and Julia Louise Bond; sister Jane; brother James; and eight grandchildren.
Horowitz told The Washington Post that Bond suddenly fell ill on Wednesday from complications relating to vascular disease. Nonetheless, his illness did not bring his spirit down. He even found reasons to laugh during his final days.