February 29, 2000, Greencastle, Ind. - "Many people do not know that there are no ethnic, or gender, or racial barriers to membership in the NAACP," Julian Bond, chairman of the board of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said at DePauw University today. "We believe, in America colored people come in all colors."
A leading activist in the movements for civil rights, economic justice and peace and a veteran of more than 20 years service in the Georgia General Assembly, Bond spoke on "2000: A Race Odyssey" at 7:30 p.m. in East College, Meharry Hall. Also scheduled is a question-and-answer session with Bond on Wednesday, March 1, at 9 a.m. in the Center for Contemporary Media, Watson Forum.
Part of the Timothy and Sharon Ubben Lecture Series, Bond's visit was co-sponsored by the DePauw departments of History and Black Studies and the Office of Multicultural Affairs.
"We live in a small and shrinking world," Bond told his DePauw audience tonight. "If we could squeeze the Earth's population into a village of 100 people, with all existing ratios remaining the same, there would be 57 Asians, 21 Europeans, 14 from the western hemisphere, both north and south, and eight Africans. Fifty-two of the 100 would be female; 48 would be male. Seventy would be non-white; 30 would be white. Seventy would be non-Christian; 30 would be Christian. Six of those 100 people would own 59% of the entire world's wealth, and all six of these people would live in the United States. Looking at the world in this way we are reminded of our mutual dependence."
He continued, "When I started working more than four decades ago, there were five workers paying into the retirement system for every retiree. Of course I have no idea who my retirees were, but there's a good chance their names were Carl, Ralph, Bob, Steve and Bill. When I retire there are going to be three workers paying into the system for every retiree, and there's a good chance their names are going to be Kwanza, Maria and Jose. And I'm here to tell you that you'd better make sure that Kwanza, Maria and Jose have the best schools, the best health care, the best jobs, and the finest protections against discrimination they possibly can." (at right: Bond at DePauw circa 1968)
Since he was a college student leading sit-in demonstrations in Atlanta in 1960, Bond has been on the cutting edge of social change. He was a founder in 1960 of the Committee on Appeal for Human Rights, the Atlanta University Center student civil rights organization that directed three years of non-violent, anti-segregation protests and won integration of Atlanta's movie theaters, lunch counters and parks. Bond was arrested for sitting-in at the then-segregated cafeteria at Atlanta City Hall.
Bond was one of several hundred students from across the South who helped form the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). He became SNCC's communications director, heading the organization's printing and publicity departments, editing the SNCC newsletter and working voter registration drives in rural Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Arkansas.
In 1968 Bond was co-chairman of the Georgia Loyal National Delegation to the Democratic Convention. The Loyalists, an insurgent group, were successful in unseating the hand-picked regulars, and Bond was nominated for vice president of the United States, thus becoming the first black to be so honored by a major political party. He withdrew his name because he was too young to serve.
He serves on the advisory boards of the Fisk University Race Relations Institute, American Civil Liberties Union, Corporation for Maintaining Editorial Diversity in America, Nicaragua/Honduras Education Project, Earth Communications Office, National Federation for Neighborhood Diversity, Southern Africa Media Center, and the Joan Shorenstein Barone Center of the John F. Kennedy School of Government. He holds honorary degrees from 19 colleges and universities.
A collection of Bond's essays has been published under the title A Time To Speak, A Time To Act, and he is the author of Black Candidates -- Southern Campaign Experiences. He is currently a Distinguished Scholar in Residence at the American University in Washington, D.C., and a history professor at the University of Virginia.