Julian Bond discussed the state of race
in America before an audience of 500
(r-l) Julian Bond, Carolyn Watkins,
Mrs. Bond, George Watkins '44
(r-l) Dr. Yvonne Brandon '76, Julian Bond
President Robert Lindgren
Mr. Bond answers questions from
On Wednesday, April 22, 2009, Randolph-Macon College hosted “An Evening with Julian
Bond: Race to the White House – The Politics of Civil Rights,” at 7:30 p.m. in Blackwell
Auditorium, in the R-MC Center for the Performing Arts. The lecture was sponsored
by the Paul and Lois Watkins Lecture Series.
Nearly 500 people attended the lecture about the state of race in America. Bond
told the audience, “Those people who say that race is history have it backwards.
History is race.” He continued, “America is race from its symbolism to its substance;
that’s why it’s impossible to overstate the significance of Barack Obama’s election
as the 44th President of the United States.”
Bond called President Obama “a breath of fresh air” and said, “We’ve never seen
anyone like him in our lifetime.” He also noted that there is still a lot to accomplish
in the civil rights movement, saying, “We will know that we are there when the ration
of things such as schools and employment are evenly distributed through jobs and
education. Anyone of any race, culture and ethnicity should be treated equally.
When the differences between blacks and whites are no longer radically uneven, then
we can say we have made progress.”
Earlier in the day, Bond spent time answering questions from about two dozen students.
He told them that they are expected to participate in the movement in their own
way, not necessarily the way he remains involved.
Julian Bond has been a leader in the movements for civil rights and economic justice
since the 1960s, when he helped organize student sit-ins while a student at Morehouse
College in Atlanta, Georgia. His participation in protests throughout the south
came with the possibility of arrest, but ultimately landed him a seat in the Georgia
General Assembly. He served in the Georgia House of Representatives for more than
Bond also has a long history with the Southern Poverty Law Center which was founded
in 1971. After serving as its first president, he continued as president emeritus
for many years, and remains active with the center today by serving on its board
of directors. He is most noted for narrating two of the center's videos, the Academy
Award-winning "A Time for Justice" and "The Shadow of Hate," which was nominated
for an Oscar.
In 1995, Bond was elected to his fourth term on the National Board of the National
Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the nation's oldest and
largest civil rights organization. He has served as chairman of the NAACP since
his election in February 1998.
Bond earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Morehouse College in 1971. He holds
numerous honorary degrees and has served on the boards of many organizations working
for social change. Bond is currently a Distinguished Scholar in Residence at the
American University in Washington, D.C., and a professor in the history department
at the University of Virginia.
A collection of Bond's essays has been published in a book titled A Time To Speak,
A Time To Act (Touchstone, June 1972). His poems and articles have appeared in the
New York Times, American Negro Poetry, the Los Angeles Times and several other national
The Watkins Lecture Series was established in 1999 by Marion Watkins Herget and
Dr. George D. Watkins ’44 and is named in honor of their parents. The program has
hosted a number of notable speakers including journalists Bob Woodward and David
Gergen and Rubin “Hurricane” Carter.
For more information on this and other R-MC events, please contact Anne Marie
Lauranzon at 804-752-7317, email@example.com.