Just weeks after announcing he would not seek another term as chairman of the NAACP, longtime civil rights activist Julian Bond changed his mind.
“I will be a candidate for Chairman when the Board convenes in February,” said Bond in a written statement. “This decision was made by the flood of written, telephoned, mailed and e-mailed appeals I received asking me to reconsider. I am eternally grateful to all those who contacted me.”
Bond was elected as the Chairman of the Board of NAACP in 1998. An active member of the civil rights movement, Bond helped to found the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, a group responsible for organizing sit-ins, freedom rides and rallies during the 1960s. As SNCC’s communications director, Bond was active in protests and voter registration campaigns throughout the South.
Elected in 1965 to the Georgia House of Representatives, Bond 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; only allowed to sit after a third election and a unanimous decision of the United States Supreme Court.
In his initial statement, Bond revealed that it had always been his plan to serve as chairman until the civil rights organization’s centennial, which will be underway when his term ends in February.
Three weeks ago Bond wrote: “This is the time for renewal. We have dynamic new leadership. The country has a new President in Barack Obama; the organization has a new CEO in Benjamin Jealous, and we’ll soon have a new Chairman of the NAACP Board.”
Now he says he wants to stay in his chairmanship for the same reasons he had initially decided to leave.
Earlier this week Bond appeared on the “Tom Joyner Morning Show,” where he said that the NAACP still has a critical role to play despite Barack Obama’s election as the nation’s first Black president, The Associated Press reported. “If you think that because a Black man will be president after Jan. 20, that racism is banished in the United States, you’re sadly, sadly mistaken,” Bond said on the program.
With Bond’s backing, Benjamin T. Jealous, 35, was chosen in May as president and CEO of the NAACP, becoming the youngest president in its history, the AP reports.
Jealous supports Bond’s decision to remain as chairman “100 percent,” he said.
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