AU professor and civil rights activist Julian Bond dies at 75

AU professor and civil rights activist Julian Bond dies at 75
AUSTIN, APRIL 9--Lonnie G. Bunch, III, Founding Director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, Julian Bond, Former Chairman of the NAACP, John Lewis, US Representative from Georgia, and Andrew Young, Former Congressman and United States Ambassador discuss a panel on the “Heroes of the Civil Rights Movement: Views from the Front Line” at the Civil Rights Summit at the LBJ Presidential Library. Photo by Lauren Gerson.

Updated 10:57 a.m. Aug. 17

AU professor and civil rights activist Julian Bond died Saturday evening at 75. 

Bond died in Fort Walton Beach, Florida after an unspecified illness, according to a statement from the Southern Poverty Law Center.

He was president of the SPLC from 1971 to 1979 and was involved in several key organizations pushing for racial equality throughout the 20th century. Bond co-founded the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee as an undergraduate in Atlanta and was later named chairman of the NAACP in 1998.

"Julian Bond was a gifted teacher and mentor and a giant in the Civil Rights Movement. He provided a bridge to the civil rights struggles from the 1960s and the challenges that still remain for equality and justice," American University president Neil Kerwin said in a statement. "Our students benefited from his first-hand knowledge of activism in the face of adversity and winning against tough odds."

Bond most recently taught a class called "Politics of the Civil Rights Movement" in the School of Public Affairs during the Spring 2015 semester. He was scheduled to teach "Oral Histories of the Civil Rights Movement," an Honors colloquium, in the Fall semester.

University Honors director Michael Manson said in an email to Honors students that the department planned to either assign a new professor to the course or offer an entirely new colloquium.

"Of course, the best way to honor Professor Bond is to continue his work on justice for everyone," Manson wrote. "Professor Bond’s great gift was his ability to connect various struggles, confidently believing together we could create a more just world."

Bond planned to retire after this academic year, Manson's email said.

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