Sunday, August 16, 2015

Julian Bond

I was surprised and saddened to see that Julian Bond passed away last night.

I had the pleasure of meeting Julian Bond when he gave a talk at Coe College. We were on our way to becoming BFF's, but sadly lost touch shortly after the handshake.

One memory that the NY Times' obituary doesn't mention is that Bond was, as far as I know, the first black man whose name was put into nomination at the convention of a major political party. At the the raucous 1968 Democratic convention in Chicago, Bond was a member of an alternate (to the all-white, racist) delegation from Georgia. An earlier Barack Obama, he wowed the crowd with his oratory, and his name was put into nomination as Hubert Humphrey's Vice President on the ticket.

Bond, who was 28 years old at the time, thanked the crowd but declined the nomination because the Constitution requires the Vice President to be 35.

Bond had a solid, honorable career. He was a founder of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), served 20 years in the Georgia state legislature, was chairman of the NAACP for 12 years, and on and on.

Yet, I always had the feeling he was an underachiever. I should be such an underachiever.

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