Long-time civil rights activist Julian Bond will speak at Albion College on Thursday.
The chairman emeritus of the NAACP will speak as part of the school's Martin Luther King Jr. Convocation Thursday night at 7:00 in Goodrich Chapel. Bond will also be interviewed by Albion History Professor Wes Dick in Bobbitt Auditorium.
Bond's address is called "The Dream: The Journey So Far and the Challenge Ahead." He tells WMUK's Earlene McMichael that he will discuss the successes of the civil rights movement. Bond says laws now protect people against racial discrimination. He says those laws have been successful. But Bond says racial discrimination still exists, and people must work to eliminate it.
While many people claim to be a student of Martin Luther King Jr. Bond is one of a select few who was taught by King in a classroom. When he was a student at Morehouse College, Bond took a Philosophy course. The teacher was Martin Luther King Jr. The two worked together in the civil rights movement. Bond says "I can't say I was his very best friend." But he got to know the funny private side of King.
Bond is a Professor in Residence at American University in Washington D.C. He's also taught at other colleges and universities. Bond says he's concerned about the lack of knowledge that young people have about the civil rights movement. Bond says Black history is American history. He says it should be of interest to people of all races.
At the age of 25, Bond was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives. But the Legislature refused to seat him because of his opposition to the Vietnam War. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in his favor. Bond says that was a great struggle to be seated. He went on to serve in both the state House and Senate in Georgia until the mid 1980's.
Bond, now 74, is still involved in social justice issues such as poverty, the environment and gay rights. Bond refused to attend Coretta Scott King's funeral because it was held at a church where the pastor is "a raving homophobic." Bond says many of the key players in the civil rights movement during the 1960's were gay.
"They helped me to earn my civil rights and I can't turn around now and say 'listen thanks for helping me, but I'm not going to help you'"
The environment is another issue that has Bond's attention these days. He says the quality of air and water should be of concern to everyone.