civil rights leader julian bond dead at age 75

The earthly passing of civil rights pioneer, political leader, researcher and educator Julian Bond will certainly spark recitations of a half-century old era—marches, institutional agitation and societal change from a White supremacist-dominated landscape.

But Bond’s lifetime dedication to equal rights, inclusive of his latter-day work, should illuminate two important realities we can learn from.

First, the struggle is still ugly, and far from over.

But you already know that.

The second reality is sadly overlooked by many who have become modern-day 1960s romanticists.

While many of you are looking for reincarnations of Malcolm X or Martin Luther King, Jr. to lead you and other African descendant masses to a more deserving position in society, read Bond’s advice to a packed audience at Modesto Junior College earlier this  year:

We too often think some magical person is going to come down and make everything right. But there never has been such a person. We need to help ourselves.

Consider that statement a wakeup slap in the head from Bond, who co-founded the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and the Southern Poverty Law Center; collaborated with MLK; worked two decades as a legislator; and spent a decade leading an establishment civil rights organization.

Leadership begins with you.

Brother Bond gave us homework. Let’s finish it…

song currently stuck in my head: “song for the dead” – thundercat


  1. Margaret Grimes commenting here. “Strong people do not need strong leaders.” — Ella Baker. And, as noted in “The New Yorker” obituary for Julian Bond, written by Charlayne Hunter-Gault, “He took to heart the teachings of Ella Baker, a leader from the older generation of black activists, who, in 1960, convened the meeting from which the Student Nonviolent Coördinating Committee (SNCC) emerged, with Julian as a co-founder.”

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