Sunday, October 17, 2021

Julian Bond Remembered in Atlanta and Nationally with Water Ceremony

Julian Bond

*A couple hundred people, including former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young and Martin Luther King III, were on hand to remember Julian Bond on Saturday (Aug. 22) in Atlanta.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports the informal ceremony, which took place at the King Center’s reflecting pool, included remembrances of the late civil rights activist as well as a wreath placed on the pool just after 3 p.m., the same time Bond’s family was to spread his ashes in the Gulf of Mexico in a private ceremony on Saturday.

Bond’s body was cremated Saturday in Florida, despite discussions for a grave-site marker. In honor of the late civil rights leader, the family asked friends and admirers worldwide to lay flowers on water. The national tribute to Bond was held in various cities such as Washington, Dallas and Montgomery. The observance was noted on social media as those who honored Bond posted photos of flower petals floating on water.

Others who attended the Atlanta ceremony included the Rev. C.T. Vivian, State Sen. Nan Orrock, current Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed Councilman Kwanza Hall and Bond’s longtime friend, renowned author Taylor Branch.

The ceremony in Atlanta and the tributes around the country come one week after Bond died Aug. 15 in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., following complications from what his family said were vascular problems.

 

mlk 3rd & atlanta diginitaries
Martin Luther King III and the other dignitaries place a floral arrangement in to the reflecting pool located at The King Center in Atlanta GA, Saturday, August 22, 2015. The floral arrangement was placed in to the reflecting pool at 3:00pm to honor Julian Bond (photo: Steve Schaeffer)

Young, who worked with Bond in the Civil Rights Movement, summed up Bond’s motivation for being activist, saying he understood that “in order to bring about changes for the good of the (African-American) race, he had to be concerned about the human race.”

“You never saw him holler black power, white power or any other kind of power,” Young said. He was a human being who understood that all of us had to live together as brothers and sisters, or perish together as fools.”

Bond’s history of activism goes back decades as he served as a legislator in Georgia for two decades after his stint as the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee’s communication chair in the 1960s. He would ultimately move forward become the first president of the Southern Poverty Law Center as well as the first African-American to be nominated as the nation’s vice president.

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal joined Bond’s family, friends and supporters in remembering the longtime NAACP chairman with ordering flags to fly half-staff on the day of his burial, the Journal-Constitution mentioned.

According Bond’s family members, plans are underway for a memorial celebration in Washington sometime in September as well as a possible formal service to follow in Atlanta.

As the nation mourns Bond, The New York Times is doing damage control after being slammed for using the of the words “slave mistress” to describe Bond’s great-grandmother in his obituary.

Critics pointed out that “slave mistress” is an outdated term, in addition to it being a way to erase the lack of control and consent in such a relationship, TheGrio.com reports.

“One can be a mistress. One can be a slave. One cannot be both, for a mistress has the element of consent in what she decides to do. A slave does NOT,” Walter Lipman, a Times reader, stated.

Responding to the criticism, the Times’ Public Editor Margaret Sullivan issued a column, which included an apology on behalf of the publication by Executive Editor Dean Baquet. Baquet acknowledged how readers comments on the “slave mistress” issue helped them in understanding the need for an apology as well as the necessity of a promise to never use the term again.

“I brought the concerns to the attention of Times editors on Wednesday; they were already aware of the complaints,” Sullivan said in the piece. “After meeting with editors to discuss it, [Baquet] responded. He said that The Times regretted using the expression. It is an archaic phrase, and even though Julian Bond himself may have used it in the past, we should not have.”

mlk 3rd
Martin Luther King III glances back that the floral arrangement that was placed in the reflecting pool to honor Julian Bond at The King Center in Atlanta GA, Saturday, August 22, 2015 (photo:Steve Schaefer).

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