Vol. 5    No. 4
February 25, 2010
     It’s just one of those inevitable things. As the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. On
February 20, Julian Bond stepped down as the chair of the board of the NAACP, a post he had held since
1998.
     Back in the late 1990s when I was the treasurer of the NAACP – Madison Branch, I had the honor of
being a delegate to the NAACP national convention several times. There was nothing like an NAACP
national convention to get one’s spirit up, to gain a positive perspective even when the U.S. Supreme Court
was driving another dagger into the heart of affirmative action. Those conferences were special times.
   The conferences would kick off on Sunday night with a Public Mass Meeting, styled, I would imagine,
after the nightly public rallies that were held during the Montgomery Bus Boycott and other prolonged civil
rights actions in order to keep people informed and to keep their spirits high. The Public Mass Meetings
would have gospel choir singing and several speakers to get the NAACP delegates and citizens from the
community in attendance revved up for the coming week’s agenda.
   In my mind, Julian Bond’s speech at the Public Mass Meeting was the highlight of the entire convention,
no matter who was coming to speak during the week, including President Bill Clinton. Bond’s oratory was
unmatched by any who would appear. His command of the English language and deft turn of a phrase to
make a point were awesome. He regularly skewered the opponents of affirmative action and civil rights
with well-placed phrases that would whip the crowd into a frenzy at times. One would just have to laugh at
the verbal imagery that would flow from his mouth. In a relatively short period of time that seemed to just fly
by, Bond would put all of the major civil rights issues into perspective. Bond knew how to move an
audience.
   I remember one time when Bond was the speaker at our local branch’s Freedom Fund Banquet maybe six
years ago or so. He equated those who opposed affirmative action to a football team that owned the
stadium, made the rules and owned the referees. The score was 42-0 and then the team declared ‘Can’t we
now just play fair.’ Bond hammered home the injustice of using the 13th – 15th amendments to deny
affirmative action for African Americans and others when there was such a large gulf in personal resources
caused by centuries of slavery and discrimination. He had the audience laughing and clapping at the truth
that he so eloquently laid before them.
   Julian Bond was one of the last vestiges of the 1950s – 1960s civil rights leaders who were still on the
scene in visible and national civil rights positions. Bond is one of the co-founders of the Student Non-Violent
Coordinating Committee (SNCC) that fought discrimination across the South. He was the first president of the
Southern Poverty Law Center and was elected to both houses of the Georgia Legislature. While a Georgia
legislator, Bond was a national figure. His influence was big. At the Democratic National Convention in
1968, there was talk of nominating Bond as the vice presidential candidate. Bond has been a civil rights
leader for decades who carried the spirit of the civil rights movement into the 21st century.
   All eras come to an end. In 2008, the NAACP appointed Ben Jealous as the president of the NAACP, the
youngest in its 100 year history. And now, Roslyn Brock, Bond’s 44-year-old successor, becomes the
youngest chair in the NAACP’s history. They are a leadership team who were born after the Fair Housing and
Civil Rights laws were passed. They were born in an era where legal segregation was no longer
constitutional.
   I don’t think that anyone could replace a Julian Bond with his experience and gift of oratory. Bond always
seemed to handle situations with style and aplomb. His wit had no equal as he kept the Bush administration’
s feet to the fire with regards to civil rights. And he showed no mercy when it came to the votes of Supreme
Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Bond’s comments about Thomas’ anti-civil rights votes were equally as
harsh.
   It doesn’t mean that the NAACP will lose its passion for civil rights. But I would expect it to implement
new tactics for a new era of civil rights. As Bond passes from the national spotlight, the movement loses its
living connection with the civil rights movement’s most productive era. Julian, you made a major impact on
all of our lives. We thank you!
Reflections/Jonathan Gramling
                         Bond ... Julian Bond

EDITORIAL STAFF

Jonathan Gramling
Publisher & Editor

Heidi Manabat
Managing Editor

Clarita G. Mendoza
Sales Manager

Contributing Writers
Rita Adair, Paul Barrows,
Alfonso Zepeda Capistran, Fabu,
Andrew Gramling, Lang Kenneth
Haynes, Eileen Cecille Hocker,
Heidi Pascual, Jessica Pharm,
Laura Salinger, Jessica Strong,
& Martinez White

Webmaster:
Heidi @
managing.editor@capitalcityhues.comv

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EDITORIAL STAFF

Jonathan Gramling
Publisher & Editor

Heidi Manabat
Managing Editor

Clarita G. Mendoza
Sales Manager

Contributing Writers
Rita Adair, Paul Barrows,
Alfonso Zepeda Capistran, Fabu,
Andrew Gramling, Lang Kenneth
Haynes, Eileen Cecille Hocker,
Heidi Pascual, Jessica Pharm,
Laura Salinger, Jessica Strong,
& Martinez White

Webmaster:
Heidi @
managing.editor@capitalcityhues.comv
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