Julian Bond, 75, a renowned civil rights activist and longtime board chairman of the NAACP, died Saturday night, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
As reported by the Associated Press, Bond died after a brief illness in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, the SPLC said in a statement released Sunday morning.
Born in Nashville, Tennessee, Bond made headlines in the 1960s for his contribution to the civil rights movement. His activism began as a Morehouse College student, where he helped found the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee. As the organization’s communications director, Bond was front and center in protests that led to the nation’s landmark civil rights laws.
Bond went on to serve as board chairman of the NAACP for 10 years but retired from that position in 2010.
According to the New York Times, Bond also was an accomplished writer, poet, television commentator, lecturer, college teacher, and “persistent opponent of the stubborn remnants of white supremacy.”
In the SPLC statement, co-founder Morris Dees characterized Bond as a “visionary” and “tireless champion” for civil and human rights.
“With Julian’s passing, the country has lost one of its most passionate and eloquent voices for the cause of justice. He advocated not just for African Americans, but for every group, indeed every person subject to oppression and discrimination, because he recognized the common humanity in us all. Not only has the country lost a hero today, we’ve lost a great friend.”
Bond was best known for his service with the NAACP, but he also served in the Georgia state legislature and was a professor at American University and the University of Virginia.
Survivors include Julian Bond’s wife, Pamela Horowitz, a former SPLC staff attorney; his five children, Phyllis Jane Bond-McMillan, Horace Mann Bond II, Michael Julian Bond, Jeffrey Alvin Bond, and Julia Louise Bond; his brother, James Bond; and his sister, Jane Bond Moore.
[Photo by Shawn Thew/Getty Images]