MLK Week: Julian Bond to connect history to today’s strugglesBy Sabrina L. Miller
Civil rights activist, historian and National Association for the Advancement of Colored People board chairman Julian Bond will deliver the keynote address at the University’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. memorial service, scheduled for noon on Monday, Jan. 15, in Rockefeller Memorial Chapel, 1156 E. 59th St. Bond’s speech will anchor the University’s weeklong commemoration, beginning Monday, Jan. 8, of the life and work of King.
An opening reception featuring Teresa Hord Owens, Dean of Students in the Divinity School, will be held from 4 to 6 p.m., Monday, Jan. 8 in Ida Noyes Hall, 1212 E. 59th St. Owens will kick off the week of activities with a portion of the King’s historic speech against the Vietnam war that he gave in 1967 from New York’s Riverside Church.
Ana Vazquez, Director of the University’s Office of Minority Student Affairs and Deputy Dean of Students, said this year’s events shed a contemporary light on many of the issues King worked on during his lifetime, including educational inequality, unfair housing policies, continued political conflicts and warfare.
“For some, the civil rights movement is something you read about in history books. We want to connect history with the present struggles for many members of our nation. Therefore, this year’s keynote address will be given by someone who has lived and led during the civil rights movement and continues to provide political and civic leadership on issues that are yet unresolved,” Vazquez said. “Julian Bond is a perfect fit. Not only does he understand the historical underpinnings of the civil rights movement, but he also continues to challenge and lead us on local and national issues.”
Currently a distinguished adjunct professor in residence at American University in Washington, D.C. and a professor of history at the University of Virginia, Bond has served as NAACP board chairman since 1998. While a student in 1960 at King’s undergraduate alma mater, Morehouse College, Bond helped found the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee in Atlanta and served as its communications director, leading student protests against segregation in public facilities in Georgia and voter registration drives throughout the south. Bond also was the first president of the Southern Poverty Law Center and remains on the organization’s board of directors.
Bond spent more than two decades in the Georgia General Assembly. Although he was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives in 1965, some members objected to his vocal opposition to the Vietnam War and prevented Bond from taking his legislative seat. He ultimately gained the seat after the United States Supreme Court unanimously ruled in his favor.
In 1968, he co-chaired the Loyalists group, a Georgia-based, challenge delegation to the Democratic National Convention. The challengers successfully unseated Georgia’s regular delegates. Bond was nominated for Vice President of the United States, but withdrew his name from consideration because he was too young to serve.
Son of University of Chicago alumni, Horace Mann Bond (M.A.T. 26’, PH.D. 36’), Bond currently is a commentator on America’s Black Forum, the oldest black-owned television show in syndication. His poetry and articles have appeared in numerous publications, including The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times. Bond also has narrated several documentaries, including the Academy-Award winning “A Time for Justice.”
Monday, Jan. 8
MLK Week Opening Ceremony
Tuesday, Jan. 9
Let Justice Roll Down Like Water: Library Resources on Civil Rights
Community Panel on Housing
Wednesday, Jan. 10
War and Moral Imperative Panel
Thursday, Jan. 11
Faculty Debate on Education
Friday, Jan. 12
Roots & Rhymes III: A Multicultural Celebration
Saturday, Jan. 13
MLK Day of Service
Sunday, Jan. 14
Historic South Side Bus Tour
Monday, Jan. 15
Memorial Service with Keynote Address
MLK Day Reception