For Immediate Release—Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Assistant Vice President for Communications
NAACP Chairman Julian Bond to deliver
SUNY Geneseo Wadsworth Lecture on Oct. 24
GENESEO, N.Y.—Unscramble the letters in "America" and a simple sentence—"I am race"—reveals one of the most complex issues facing society today. So says Julian Bond, chairman of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), who will deliver the Wadsworth Lecture at the State University of New York at Geneseo at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 24 at Wadsworth Auditorium.
His address, "Civil Rights: In the Day, Today and Tomorrow," is free and open to the public. A question-and-answer session with Bond will follow his presentation.
Born in Nashville, Tenn., in 1940, Horace Julian Bond has spent his lifetime championing social and economic justice, civil rights and political reform. From voter registration drives in the rural South to a landmark election decision in the United States Supreme Court to —most recently—a ceremonial funeral burying "the n-word", Bond has been a catalyst for social change. He has earned a reputation for standing firm in controversy, even facing jail for his convictions.
"Julian Bond's steadfast commitment to freedom and justice will soon span 50 years, but there is still much more to be done," said Christopher C. Dahl, president of SUNY Geneseo. "His legacy of service to create lasting cultural change is the benchmark for the next generation of leaders. Given Geneseo's mission to develop socially responsible citizens, we're honored to have him on campus to deliver the Wadsworth Lecture."
Bond's passion and leadership were first displayed in 1960 when, as a student at Morehouse College, he founded the Committee on Appeal for Human Rights, a student civil rights organization that helped end segregation in Atlanta's movie theaters, lunch counters and parks. He then joined other students from the South to form the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, for which he later served as communications director, actively engaging in protests and voter registration drives in the South during one of the nation's most tumultuous eras.
Five years later, in 1965, Bond was elected to a one-year term in the Georgia House of Representatives but was prevented from taking his seat by members who objected to his opposition to the Vietnam War. He was re-elected twice more and finally seated the third time when the United States Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the Georgia House had violated his rights.
At the 1968 Democratic Convention, Bond co-chaired a challenge delegation from Georgia that successfully unseated Georgia's regular Democrats. He was nominated for vice president, but had to decline because he was too young to serve. In 1974, Bond was elected to the Georgia Senate, where he served until 1987. By the time he left, he had been elected to public office more times than any other black Georgian in history.
Since 1998, Bond has served as chairman of the board of the NAACP, the oldest and largest civil rights organization in the United States. He also serves on a number of boards for organizations committed to social change, including the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Harvard Business School Initiative on Social Enterprise.
Over the years, Bond has served as commentator on America's Black Forum, the oldest black-owned show in television syndication, as well as a narrator for numerous documentaries, including the Academy Award-winning A Time for Justice and the prize-winning and critically acclaimed series Eyes on the Prize.
He has been a commentator on The Today Show and was the author of a nationally syndicated newspaper column called "Viewpoint." He has published A Time to Speak, A Time to Act, a collection of his essays as well as Black Candidates Southern Campaign Experiences.
Bond earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Morehouse College in 1971 and holds numerous honorary degrees. Throughout his career, he taught at several universities and currently is a distinguished professor at American University in Washington, D.C. and professor of history at the University of Virginia. Bond continues with his activism, working to educate the public about the history of the Civil Rights movement and the struggles that African Americans and the poor still endure. In 2002, he was awarded the National Freedom Award.
The Wadsworth Lecture at Geneseo was endowed in 1988 by the late Alice Wadsworth Strong, who established the series in honor of her father, Ambassador James Jeremiah Wadsworth, to reflect and memorialize his life of public service at the national, state and local levels. Previous Wadsworth Lecture speakers have included former Presidents George H. Bush and Gerald R. Ford, conservationist and paleoanthropologist Richard Leakey, and Newsweek Managing Editor and author Jon Meacham.