DETROIT – Activist Julian Bond will speak about the role the law has played in encouraging and thwarting the civil rights movement Thursday, Oct. 23, for the sixth Damon J. Keith Biennial Lecture at Wayne State University Law School.
The lecture series is part of the mission of the law school’s Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights to provide education about civil rights to the community and to nurture the next generation of civil rights leaders. Bond’s lecture is sponsored by Comerica Bank.
Bond’s presentation, “Under Color of Law,” is set for 7:30 p.m. in the law school’s Spencer M. Partrich Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public. Register by Thursday, Oct. 2, by visiting keithcenter.wayne.edu/bond or calling (313) 577-0300. Parking will be available for $7 (credit and debit cards only) in Structure No. 1 across West Palmer Street from the law school.
Bond has been on the cutting edge of social change since the 1960s, when he was a civil rights and anti-war activist. While a student at Morehouse College, he co-founded the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and the Atlanta student sit-in and anti-segregation organization. He was arrested for the first time for sitting-in at the then-segregated cafeteria at Atlanta City Hall and continued to be active in protests and voter registration campaigns throughout the South during this historic civil rights era.
In 1965, Bond was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives and was prevented from taking his seat by members who objected to his opposition to the Vietnam War. He was re-elected to his own vacant seat and unseated again. After winning a third election and a unanimous decision of the U.S. Supreme Court, he was seated and ultimately served four terms in the state House and six in the state Senate.
The first president of the Southern Poverty Law Center, he held that post for more than 30 years. He also served as chairman of the NAACP, the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization, from 1998 to 2010. He also has served on the Advisory Board of the American Civil Liberties Union and many other boards, including the Center for Community Change, Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Fund and Highlander Research and Education Center. He continues to serve on the NAACP’s national board and in a number of other posts, including as a member of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African History and Culture Civil Rights History Project Advisory Panel.
As a professor, he has taught at American University, Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania. He is a professor emeritus in the History Department at the University of Virginia.
Bond is a television commentator, widely published author, actor and narrator of several prize-winning documentaries, including A Time for Justice and Eyes on the Prize. In 2002, he received the National Freedom Award, and, in 2008, the Library of Congress named him a “Living Legend.” In 2009, he received the NAACP’s Spingarn Medal.
Past speakers for the Damon J. Keith Biennial Lecture at Wayne Law have included activist, actor and singer Harry Belafonte; pioneering lawyer Constance Rice; and Lani Guinier, a ground-breaking scholar who is the first African-American woman to receive tenure at Harvard Law School.