During the last fifty years in America, Julian Bond became one of those ‘Giants’ of the Civil Rights struggle. Brought up in the deep south of Tennessee where he was born, he eventually made Georgia his fighting ground where he received his toughest role with some of the nation’s staunchest segregationists. When Bond was elected to office as a senator in Georgia, his colleagues voted to not have him seated. But not willing to roll over, Bond was eventually seated when the United States Supreme Court ruled 9-0 that his constitutional rights had been violated. He was also nominated for the position of Vice President on the Democratic ticket but declined the nomination because he was underage at the time.
In the Black community, the Bond brand was part of everyday conversation and they were not speaking about James Bond but Julian Bond the civil rights leader. A charismatic man, Bond had a way with words while his baby face and smile charmed listeners.
In 1978, it was Bond’s activism that attracted the Inland Area Urban League’s (IAUL) Board of Directors to invite him to speak to the community. As a board member, I served as membership chair and was looking forward to his visit.
The Urban League had a strong presence in the Inland area under the leadership of then President Michael Teer and now retired realtor of Teer 1 Properties in Riverside. As the accompanying photos suggest from the IAUL Newsletter, we had quite an organization that covered both Riverside and San Bernardino Counties. We had a very active inclusive board of directors made up of women, business leaders, doctors, lawyers, educators, community activists, and labor leaders from all racial groups in both counties.
This was not the only time Bond came to the Inland Empire but the most memorable for me because I was involved with bringing him and helping with the event. As his family and the nation mourn his loss, the civil rights movement has lost a giant in our struggle for freedom.