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August 17, 2015

Famed civil rights leader Julian Bond remembered


Civil rights leader and former NAACP chairman Julian Bond died Saturday at the age of 75.

The grandson of a slave, Bond attended Morehouse College in Atlanta, where he took a philosophy class taught by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. His first experience with political organizing came with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, or SNCC, in the 1960s.

Bond took part in a number of nonviolent civil rights protests throughout the segregated South. At age 26, he was elected to Georgia’s state legislature, where he served for 20 years.

“He managed to spend his entire life in civil rights, not the sentimental civil rights of our SNCC days, but the civil rights of our time,” said Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, who knew Bond from their days as student organizers.

Later, as the first president of the Southern Poverty Law Center and chairman of the NAACP, Bond continued to champion causes related to racial and social justice.

He spoke two years ago at the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington about the social challenges still facing the nation: “We are still being tested by hardships and adversity … but, today, we commit ourselves, as we did 50 years ago, to greater efforts and grander victories.”

Warm up questions
  1. What was the Civil Rights Movement?
  2. Who are some famous civil rights leaders?
  3. What does the NAACP do?
Critical thinking questions
  1. Why were organizations like SNCC and the NAACP so important during the Civil Rights Movement?
  2. Why is it significant when civil rights leaders such as Bond pass away? What effect does that have on the continued movement?
  3. What are the similarities and differences between the fight for racial equality in the 1960s and today?
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