Julian Bond Speaks at JMU

By: Keith Jones Email
By: Keith Jones Email

To round out a week of events celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., James Madison University brought the chairman of the NAACP, Julian Bond, to speak on campus.

Bond talked about how a message that may be 50 years, but is still relevant now. He had a personal relationship with King, and says we all have a responsibility to carry on his legacy.

He quotes King, "'I feel awful,' he said, 'I have a nightmare'. I said, 'No doc, turn that around, try I have a dream.'"

Bond shared stories about his relationship with King to an anxious audience. He says after all these years, the message is still the same.

"You need to find ways you can work with him or her, to either change their perspective on things or to get them engaged with you," says Bond.

Students, faculty, and the community celebrated Dr. King's life, remembering what he stood for and what it means now.

"There are lots of people you know who say I don't see race," says Bond. Well, I'm looking at you and I see you're a white guy, aren't you? I mean I see that, and for someone to tell me that they can look at me and not tell I'm a black guy, there's something either wrong with their sight or something. So that's just nonsense."

He says race is alive in all facets of life, including politics.

"Somehow or another, this kind of talk ought to be kept out of politics. You know this is reality: Obama's a black man, Hillary is a woman, Romney is a Mormon, Richardson is a Hispanic," says Bond. "We have to be honest about what we see and if what we see somehow or another offends us, then I wish we would be honest about that too because too often we're not."

About 200 people came to hear Bond speak. He said even though the times have changed, there's still room for more progress.

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