Civil rights pioneer and former UVA history professor Julian Bond passed away on Saturday after a brief illness. Bond, 75, was a founder of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, a key organization in the 1960s civil rights movement, and later was a Georgia state legislator, a founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center and president of the NAACP.
University of Virginia President Teresa A. Sullivan referred to Bond, who taught at UVA for 20 years before retiring in 2012, as “an enormously respected civil rights leader, politician, scholar, and writer who shaped the course of history through his life and work.”
“He made significant contributions to the University of Virginia, teaching thousands of our students while serving as a mentor and role model for all of us. Martin Luther King, Jr., told us ‘the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.’ Julian Bond devoted his life to bending our world toward justice, and all of us should be grateful.”
In a statement, President Obama said Bond “was a hero and, I’m privileged to say, a friend.
“Justice and equality was the mission that spanned his life – from his leadership of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, to his founding role with the Southern Poverty Law Center, to his pioneering service in the Georgia legislature and his steady hand at the helm of the NAACP. Michelle and I have benefited from his example, his counsel, and his friendship – and we offer our prayers and sympathies to his wife, Pamela, and his children.
“Julian Bond helped change this country for the better. And what better way to be remembered than that,” Obama said.