Civil rights leader Julian Bond dies

Julian Bond, one of the founders of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and an American social activist, watches a presentation on overhead video screens at the 50th Anniversary Freedom Summer conference at Tougaloo College in Jackson, Miss., Thursday, June 26, 2014. The conference commemorates the months of 1964 when volunteers came from across the country to assist state and local NAACP leaders and others in the South's voter registration drives, and especially in Mississippi. Bond is one of the speakers this weekend. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

FORT WALTON BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Julian Bond, a civil rights activist and longtime board chairman of the NAACP, has died. He was 75.

The Southern Poverty Law Center says in a statement that Bond died Saturday night in Fort Walton Beach, Florida after a brief illness.

The Nashville, Tenn. native was considered a symbol and icon of the 1960s 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.

He later served as board chairman of the 500,000-member NAACP for 10 years but declined to run again for another one-year term in 2010.

Bond also served in the Georgia state legislature and was a professor at American University and the University of Virginia.

Congressman David Cicilline issued the following statement:

Julian Bond defined his life through an unwavering and unparalleled commitment to public service, non-violence, and advocacy for those on the margins of society. As one of the most eloquent voices of the civil rights movement, Julian Bond helped found both the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and the Southern Poverty Law Center; spent two decades as a member of the Georgia General Assembly; and served 11 years as Chairman of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.”

“Dr. Martin Luther King said that ‘the ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.’ Over 75 years, Julian Bond never backed down from a challenge or a controversy. He marched for civil rights, spoke out against war, demonstrated to bring down apartheid, and worked to advance the cause of LGBT equality.”

“My thoughts are with his wife, Pamela Horowitz, his children, and the entire Bond family today.”

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