Julian Bond's Carolina connection

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Julian Bond, a politician and Civil Rights activist, passed away Sunday. His amazing voice resonated with unmistakable clarity throughout his life.

Bond was one of the speakers during the 50th anniversary honoring the March on Washington.

"We march because the U.S. Supreme Court has eviscerated the voting rights act," he said. "We march for freedom from White Supremacy, but we still have work to do."

Bond was in the crowd of more than 200,000 during the historic 1963 march where Martin Luther King Junior delivered his "I have a dream" speech.

Known for his relationship with Dr. Martin King Jr, Bond 50 years later occupied the same space of a man regarded as a guiding light.

Bond was a son of the south, but in 1960 - when our nation was in search of a new identity - he took a cue from Charlotte's Franklin McCain and students from North Carolina A&T University by putting himself in the arena of public disobedience during the sit-in movement.

Bond said at a Civil Rights forum in Washington two years ago, "When I was in college, I was told if you sit-in at this lunch counter your degree from Morehouse College will be worth more."

The man from Morehouse would find validation for his cause at Shaw University in Raleigh. That's the campus that gave lift and life to Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee known as SNICC.

When President Barack Obama spoke in New York at the NAACP's 100th anniversary convention, WBTV's cameras were there, and Bond was then the organizations chairman of board.

That was in 2009. However, 13 years earlier, the national convention was held here in Charlotte and Bond told WBTV fortunes for the group turned around in the Queen City.

"Our membership is up, our income is up, our finances is up," he said. "We've got new leadership at the top."

Even at one of his last big speeches on the national mall two years ago, Bond led a charge for masses who continue the fight.

"We've never wished our way to freedom," Bond said. "We've always worked our way."

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