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Julian Bond dies at 75

Julian Bond, civil rights leader, and former NAACP chairman dies at 75; was at the forefront of the civil rights movement and advocated for marriage equality Julian Bond, a lifelong civil rights leader, and former board

Julian Bond, civil rights leader, and former NAACP chairman dies at 75; was at the forefront of the civil rights movement and advocated for marriage equality

Julian Bond, a lifelong civil rights leader, and former board chairman of the NAACP, has died. He was 75.

ComptonHerald.com | obituaries

ComptonHerald.com obituaries

Bond died Aug. 15 after a brief illness in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which he served as founding president in the 1970s.

California State NAACP President Alice Huffman paid Bond the following much-deserved praise in homage to his illustrious career.

“As we celebrate the life and countless contributions of Julian Bond to America, we the people have much to thank him for. He was steadfast and nondiscriminatory in his advocacy for rights, primarily for African-Americans. He rose out of the segregated south but over the years through his leadership, rights for Chairman Bond had no boundaries of pigmentation, religion, race or sexual orientation. He stood for the rights of all, and in many cases placed his leadership on the line to prove it.

“Many civil rights leaders will miss his brilliance and support that he provided. California will miss his presence as he was sure to attend many of our local events to bolster the attendees with his great stature and charm.

“He was a person so unique that his presence will never be replaced. He served well and long, beginning as the communication’s director and founding member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and on to the Georgia State Legislature where he was denied his seat for two years based on his protest to the Vietnam war and was finally seated by court order; nominated for vice president however was too young to accept; on to his work as a founding member of the Center for Law and Poverty and his 12-year chairmanship with the nation’s oldest and most prestigious civil rights organization, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

“He served his country well and made us all proud to be an American. We served together on the national board of directors and fought inside for the rights of the LGBT community. It was an honor to work at his side.

“The California-Hawaii NAACP celebrates his life.  He is truly an American hero who will be missed.”

 Many had fitting words for Bond, too.

“Not only has the country lost a hero today, we’ve lost a great friend,” the legal advocacy group said in a statement.

The Tennessee native was on the forefront of the 1960s civil rights movement and was among activists who demanded equal rights for African-Americans.

“With Julian’s passing, the country has lost one of its most passionate and eloquent voices for the cause of justice,” said Morris Dees, co-founder of the SPLU.

Bond championed for equal rights for minorities beyond the United States.

In 1985, police arrested him outside the South African Embassy, where he was protesting against apartheid, the legalized racial segregation enforced by South Africa at the time.

“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,” Dees said.

Bond was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives in 1965, but his white colleagues in the House refused to let him take his seat because of his opposition to the Vietnam war. A year later, the Supreme Court accused the legislature of violating his freedom of speech and ordered it to seat him. He went on to serve 20 years in both houses of the Georgia state legislature.

The former lawmaker also taught at various universities, including Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania, and was chairman of the NAACP for a decade.

As chairman of the NAACP’s board of directors, he came out in support of marriage equality in 2004 and made a video for the Human Rights Campaign’s Americans for Marriage Equality series in 2011. The next year he praised President Obama’s endorsement of marriage equality. Bond also supported LGBT civil rights legislation at the federal level and opposed “religious refusal bills.”

Bond is survived by his wife, Pamela Horowitz, and five children, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

CNN contributed to this story.

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