Monday, August 17, 2015

Remembering Julian Bond

Our staff members were saddened to learn about the passing of Julian Bond over the weekend. A founding member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, former chair of the NAACP, as well as a former member of both the Georgia House and Senate, Mr. Bond was a talented man who worked for equal rights throughout his life. In 2012, Mr. Bond sat down with our staff to record an oral history with interviewer Bob Short. In the post below oral historian Christian Lopez recalls his interactions with Bond during that trip in DC.   

A few years ago, I had the great privilege and honor of spending a whole day and evening with Julian Bond in DC. Bob Short and I traveled there to record an oral history interview for the Russell Library's Reflections on Georgia Politics program. We ended up having to shoot it in a stark, spare room at American University. It turned out pretty well, I think.

Afterwards, Julian and his wife Pam wanted to treat us to lunch at their favorite spot. Without a word from me, Julian also identified the immediate concern of what to do with all my expensive gear for the rest of the day and evening, and took care of it. He said he understood it was important to me.
After a great lunch filled with much humor, we returned to American and Bob taught Julian's class on civil rights history.

Later that evening, we were guests at Julian's table in the theater at Busboys and Poets, where he and John Lewis were the featured participants in a discussion on civil rights, then and now, moderated by congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton. It was a moving experience to hear those two men, so different in their eloquence, each so revered and erudite. That night, as Julian introduced us to people there, it was like being with a rock star. I was asked by a reporter with the Washington Post who I was, and initially I was not allowed towards the front of the theater until Julian stepped forward and said, "It's alright-- Christian is my guest at my table."

Julian Bond was thoughtful, funny, gracious, humble, and so generous with us that day. It was a once in a lifetime experience. Julian's voice and presence will be missed greatly.

-- Christian Lopez

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