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Remembering Julian Bond

NewSouth Books mourns the untimely loss of our friend and noted civil rights leader Julian Bond, who died over the weekend at age 75. Bond was one of the organizers of SNCC (the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee), President Emeritus of the Southern Poverty Law Center, national chairman of the NAACP, a longtime Georgia state senator, a founder of the Institute for Southern Studies, a distinguished professor of history, and an internationally known lecturer, writer, and commentator. Bond wrote forewords and commentary for several NewSouth titles, including the autobiography of fellow SNCC member Bob Zellner, The Wrong Side of Murder Creek.

Bond is pictured in March 2015 with NewSouth editor-in-chief Randall Williams (left) and Will Campbell, an attorney from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, during a bus tour Williams was narrating of civil rights sites in Montgomery and Lowndes County. This was part of a civil rights study tour that Bond and his wife, Pamela Horowitz, hosted for the University of Virginia each spring. Horowitz, Williams, and Campbell were staffers at the Southern Poverty Law Center in the 1970s, while Bond was SPLC president.

“Julian was unusual among civil rights leaders in that he was an intellectual first and an activist second, more inclined to analysis than agitation, and more comfortable influencing opinion than making news, though he did plenty of the latter, too,” said Williams. “He never wavered from his principled stands. He was steadfastly against war, injustice, and poverty, and passionately for peace, human dignity, and equality of opportunity. And even though he was an accomplished historian, he paid close attention to popular culture, and he was always the best-informed, smartest, and funniest person in the room. He left us far too soon, and we will miss him more than we realize even in our grief of the moment.”

Randall Williams, Julian Bond, and Will Campbell, on a civil rights study tour for the University of Virginia