Julian Bond, renowned civil rights activist and scholar, delivered the keynote address at the annual Martin Luther King Jr. convocation.
The convocation, now in its 16th year, took place at the Goodrich Chapel on Thursday, Jan. 30.
Bond’s speech covered the beginning of the civil rights movement of the 1960s, starting with the 1955 Montgomery, Ala., bus boycott and compared the struggles of early civil rights leaders to the challenges faced today.
Bond stressed the importance of “the faceless, not the famous” in the successes of the civil rights movement, and that “the simplest things can challenge the way people think, such as casting a vote or going to school.”
Bond also applauded the similarities between the civil rights movement with Vietnam war protests, the feminist movement and LGBT rights movements.
Bond also claimed that the work that lay ahead in civil rights, despite many successes, is equal to or even greater than what has already been accomplished.
Only a few generations separate “Julian Bond and human bondage,” Bond said. “Almost every single social indicator [such as income, arrest rates, etc.] favor white Americans over black Americans.”
Bond, however, is confident of greater success in the future.
“The civil rights movement did not want to be integrated into a burning house,” Bond said. “It wanted to build a better house. We’ve never wished our way to freedom. Instead, we work.”
Bond closed his remarks by reminding the audience that despite the reverence many now hold for MLK, he was reviled during his life by many for choosing to fight for the rights of African Americans.
The Pleiad will publish an exclusive interview with Bond on Monday, Feb. 3.
Photo courtesy Albion College Office of Communications