Julian Bond Speaks at ProQuest Breakfast
Civil rights leader Julian Bond at the ProQuest customer breakfast. Photo by George Eberhart
Electronic information publisher ProQuest is working with civil rights leader, former legislator, professor, and writer Julian Bond to convert the nearly 2-million-page microfilm archives of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) into a fully searchable collection within its ProQuest History Vault initiative.
Bond spoke at the ProQuest customer breakfast on Monday morning to provide some background on his role in civil rights activism in a talk he called, “How I Got in the Movement.” He showed many slides depicting his activities, from his introduction to the movement as a 20-year-old student to recent meetings with Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush.
He got his start after participating in a sit-in at a café in Atlanta near the Morehouse College campus in 1960, then became a founding member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), which became one of the most aggressive civil rights groups of the era and played a major role in protests, freedom rides, and voter registration efforts in the South.
As one of only eight students who took a philosophy class taught by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at Morehouse in 1960, Bond regretted that he did not tape-record his lectures or even take extensive notes. However, he did tell the audience a story about walking across the campus with King and asking him how the movement was progressing. King lamented that things were bad, with racism, poverty, war, and violence on the rise. “Julian, I have a nightmare,” King told him. Bond responded, “No, Doc, turn that around: I have a dream.” (Bond stopped short of claiming that he was responsible for giving King the idea for his famous August 1963 speech.)
Bond recently retired from the University of Virginia as a history professor, where he helped to secure a Julian Bond Professorship of Civil Rights and Social Justice. Since March 2007, Bond has been leading a “Civil Rights South Tour,” a six-day tour of landmarks in Atlanta, Montgomery, Selma, and Memphis that includes meetings with key figures of the civil rights movement. The next tour is scheduled for March 2013.