Former NAACP chairman and activist
Julian Bond died Saturday at the age of 75.
Bond worked his way up to the top
leadership post at the NAACP after starting a student protest group
as a young man.
“He started when he was about 17 and
he went to 75,” former Ambassador Andrew Young told the AP. “And
I don't know a single time when he was not involved in some phase of
the civil rights movement.”
According to the Southern Poverty Law
Center (SPLC), Bond died in Florida after a brief illness. Bond
founded the SPLC in 1971.
In a written statement, President
Barack Obama called Bond “a hero” who “helped change this
country for the better.”
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the
nation's largest LGBT rights advocate, released on Sunday a video
montage of Bond's support for LGBT rights.
In a 2012 CNN interview, host Anderson
Cooper asked, “You see the push for equal rights for gay and
lesbian Americans as an extension of the civil rights movement?”
and Bond answered: “Very much so.”
“Of course. It is exactly the same.
It's a right that all Americans have and no reason why gay and
lesbian people ought not have these rights, too. These are universal
rights,” Bond said.
To African-Americans who say they are
offended by the comparison, Bond said: “We ought to be happy that
other people, including gays and lesbians, and many other people have
imitated the Black movement for human rights. … And when others
imitate what we did to gain their rights we ought to be first in line
to say, 'Can I help you? You helped me, can I help you?'”
He is survived by his wife and five