Julian Bond, a U.S. civil rights activist and longtime board chairman of the NAACP, a group that fights discrimination against black people, died Saturday night in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, the Southern Poverty Law Center said in a statement Sunday.
The Nashville, Tennessee native was considered a symbol and icon of the 1960s U.S. civil rights movement. As a Morehouse College student, Bond helped found the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee and as its communications director, he was on the front lines of protests that led to the nation's landmark civil rights laws.
Bond later served as board chairman of the 500,000-member NAACP for 10 years but declined to run again in 2010. Bond also served in the Georgia state legislature and was a professor at American University and the University of Virginia.
The SPLC called Bond a "visionary" and "tireless champion" for civil and human rights.
"With Julian's passing, the country has lost one of its most passionate and eloquent voices for the cause of justice," SPLC co-founder Morris Dees said in a statement. "He advocated not just for African Americans, but for every group, indeed every person subject to oppression and discrimination, because he recognized the common humanity in us all."
"Very few throughout human history have embodied the ideals of honor, dignity, courage and friendship like Dr. Julian Bond," said Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign. "Quite simply, this nation and this world are far better because of his life and commitment to justice and equality for all people."
Julian is survived by his wife, Pamela Horowitz, a former SPLC staff attorney, his five children, a brother and a sister.
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