Mid-South mourns the loss of civil rights leader Julian Bond - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Mid-South mourns the loss of civil rights leader Julian Bond

(Source: WMC Action News 5) (Source: WMC Action News 5)

The Mid-South is joining the nation in mourning the loss of Civil rights activist Julian Bond.

The former NAACP chairman and Nashville native died Saturday at the age of 75.

Tennessee congressman Steve Cohen issued a statement on the passing of Bond:

“Julian Bond was a hero, an adviser, and a dear friend of mine who always spoke the truth and forged a path for many in the ongoing fight for justice and progress. I was lucky to meet him as a Vanderbilt student and even luckier that he and his wife Pam accepted me as their friend in the 1980s when I was a State Senator. I was fortunate to have him as a friend, and I extend my condolences to Pam and his children. Julian led a phenomenal life and the world is diminished by his passing.”

Bond spoke passionately about civil rights and the need for people of all races to fight for equality.

"He was one of my heroes in the sense he fought not only through his actions, through his beliefs, but his intellect," former NAACP executive director Johnnie Turner said. "He was one of the most brilliant writers."

Bond was a writer, Harvard professor, Georgia state representative, and senator. He lived his life on the front lines of sit-ins and other protests.

Turner said Bond was the chairman of the NAACP National Board while she served as the local executive director of the organization.

In 2002, Bond came to Memphis to receive the Freedom Award from the National Civil Rights Museum.

"He was very close to Dr. King, which meant that in a sense Dr. King was his mentor. Dr. King appreciated his input," Turner said.

Bond was one of the original leaders of the student militant civil rights group, Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.

Over the years, he became a champion for equal rights for minorities.

A poet, television commentator, and politician, Bond constantly spoke against injustices from voter rights to the conflict in Ferguson, Missouri.

"There is nothing the people in Ferguson are not asking for that Dr. King and his comrades didn't ask for during the Montgomery bus boycott," he said of the protests.

"He dealt with back of the bus, segregated schools, segregated restaurants, separate but unequal education," Turner said.

Turner said Bond used his intellect to overcome obstacles. While she mourns his death following a brief illness, she said his contributions and passion for doing what is right will last forever.

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