ATLANTA (AP) —ATLANTA (AP) — Through the tough struggles of the civil rights movement, Julian Bond always kept his sense of humor, and it was his steady demeanor that helped him persist despite the inevitable difficulties involved, his wife recalled.
Bond “never took his eyes off the prize and that was always racial equality,” Pamela Horowitz told The Associated Press on Sunday.
Bond died Saturday in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, Horowitz said. He was 75. Horowitz said she did not yet know the exact cause of death, but that her husband had circulatory problems.
Bond’s life traced the arc of the civil rights movement, from his efforts as a militant young man to start a student protest group, through a long career in politics and his leadership of the NAACP almost four decades later.
Year after year, the calm, telegenic Bond was one of the nation’s most poetic voices for equality, inspiring fellow activists with his words in the 1960s and sharing the movement’s vision with succeeding generations as a speaker and academic.
“He always … in that hard struggle kept a sense of humor, and I think that’s what allowed him to do that work for so long — his whole life really,” Horowitz said.
Former U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young said Bond’s legacy would be as a “lifetime struggler.”
“He started when he was about 17 and he went to 75,” Young said. “And I don’t know a single time when he was not involved in some phase of the civil rights movement.”
Bond’s death was first announced by the Southern Poverty Law Center, an advocacy group that he founded in 1971 and helped oversee for the rest of his life.