Former NAACP Leader Remembered at Lake Ella
By Janelle Floyd
Members of the Tallahassee Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Tallahassee residents and other friends gathered around Lake Ella to celebrate the life of Horace Julian Bond – former Georgia lawmaker and world renown civil rights activist.
At precisely 3 p.m., on Aug. 22, everyone in attendance spread flower pedals on the waters of Lake Ella. At the same time, the family of Bond, held a private ceremony and released his ashes on the Gulf of Mexico.
“He was a person that would never change and was always so humble,” said Sadie Gordon, longtime friend of Bond. “And I will never forget an experience with my daughter, who was 3-years-old, at the time. He played with her, talked to her and to this day my daughter never forgot him.”
Located right behind Gordon on a stand, was a black and white photo of the civil rights leader smiling off into the distance. Large white writing was included in the photo with the years of his life: 1940-2015.
During those 75 years, Bond was most notably remembered as the chairman of the NAACP, lifelong defender of equal rights, paramount figure of the 1960s Civil Rights Movement and the anti-Vietnam War campaign.
Standing off to the side, a smiling William Tucker, one of the organizers of the event, watched as people paid their condolences to Bond.
“Julian Bond and I were born in the same year,” chuckled the political action chair for the Tallahassee branch of the NAACP. “I knew him and all the work he did, but the struggle is not over. We have to pass on the baton to the next generation of people who will stand up for equality.”
Tucker also described him as an eloquent writer and poet. Bond spread his knowledge by lecturing and teaching at various universities including, Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania, Tucker said.
All the hard work he did throughout his life was not lost on Nevelda Austin.
“This man has done a lot of great things,” said Austin, a Tallahassee resident. “And I wanted to come here to memorialize, along with everyone that’s here, to pay respects to everything that he has done.”
Bond will also be remembered for co-founding, along with Morris Dees, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). According to their website, the non-profit organization “founded in 1971, combats hate, intolerance and discrimination through education and litigation.”
Also posted on the SPLC website, a heartfelt letter by Dees, remembering his colleague and friend.
“With Julian’s passing, the country has lost one of its most passionate and eloquent voices for the cause of justice. Not only has the country lost a hero today, we’ve lost a great friend.”
“We’ve lost a champion.”