In 1965, Bond was one of eight black men to win election to the Georgia House of Representatives. His fellow white members refused to let him take a seat, crediting his leadership of SNCC’s resistance to the Vietnam War as him being disloyal. The case went to the Supreme Court and a unanimous decision ordered the state legislature to seat Bond.
Bond served in the Georgia General Assembly for the next 20 years, including four terms in the House and six in the Senate.
Bond also served as chairman of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) from 1998 to 2010.
“He advocated not just for African Americans, but for every group, indeed every person subject to oppression and discrimination, because he recognized the common humanity in us all,” Morris Dees, co-founder and chief trial attorney of the Southern Poverty Law Center, said.
Bond frequently said that “gay rights are civil rights.”
“Today, discrimination against individuals based on their race, sex, national origin, age or disability is almost universally viewed as unacceptable,” he said in an op-ed in Politico in 2013. “That is because people of goodwill came together to make it so. At this critical moment in history, we should also come together to make clear that our LGBT brothers and sisters deserve full equality under the law, not just 80 percent. I believe in America’s promise of equality under the law for all. I hope that Americans from across the political spectrum will stand with me.”
The service will be private, but the family is asking others to gather at a body of water and throw in flower petals at the same time of the ceremony, 2 p.m. Central Standard Time.
“This gesture will mean a great deal to us as a family and also provide some comfort in knowing that you share our loss,” the family wrote in a collective email to supporters.
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