Civil rights icon Julian Bond died on Saturday in Fort Walton Beach, Fla. from complications due to vascular disease. He was 75.

Bond was an outspoken activist in the 1960s and an early leader in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), serving as the group’s communications director for five years. Later, Bond co-founded the Southern Poverty Law Center, led the NAACP, and served in the Georgia General Assembly for 20 years.

President Obama called Bond a “hero” in a statement released Sunday.

Julian Bond was a hero and, I’m privileged to say, a friend. Justice and equality was the mission that spanned his life – from his leadership of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, to his founding role with the Southern Poverty Law Center, to his pioneering service in the Georgia legislature and his steady hand at the helm of the NAACP. Michelle and I have benefited from his example, his counsel, and his friendship – and we offer our prayers and sympathies to his wife, Pamela, and his children.

Georgia Congressman John Lewis, a founding member of SNCC, took to Twitter to remember his friend.

President Obama perhaps summed up Bond’s legacy the best.

“Julian Bond helped change this country for the better,” he wrote. “And what better way to be remembered than that.”

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  • [email protected]

    So much could be said about Julian Bond. From the time that he was born, he was destined for greatness. He was taught by his parents about Robeson and WEB Dubois. Later on, he went to have a great education and he fought for social justice. He always loved black people with a great passion. That is exemplified in the voting registration drives that he worked in and his actions to fight against the scourge of Jim Crow apartheid. He expressed his obligation to advance the common good and equality for all. Being in SNCC, he militantly fought against token reformism and he rejected a slow, gradual approach in solving problems. This revolutionary spirit is found in SNCC and so many organizations during that time period. He expressed a courageous mindset when he opposed the Vietnam War. Also, he stood up to reactionary Georgia state legislative officials back in 1966, who wanted him to give up his seat (because of his anti-war views).

    He served the people faithfully. From defending the Voting Rights Act to opposition to the Keystone Pipeline, he was a constant social activist. His passing is sad, but we have a younger generation who are informed, alert, and have determined strength (as a way to continue in the work that Bond did). Julian Bond’s actions were never timid, but he expressed a calm patience with people. He was not arrogant, but confident. He was kind, but never egocentric. We don’t shrink from controversies and adversity. We will overcome adversity via activism, courage, and love. The fight continues in 2015. We are not free, but the actions of Julian Bond should never be discounted. He made our steps toward the Promised Land a lot easier. We believe in egalitarianism, equality, and justice. His work is our work. We will never bow before the convenience of the status quo, but we will stand up for our principles and for the dignity of black human lives.

    RIP Brother Julian Bond.

  • Mary Burrell

    May he rest in peace and power job well done.

    • [email protected]

      Amen Sister.

  • RaiseTheBar

    Bond, Julian Bond ! ! !

    THANK You Sir!, for your lifetime commitment and tireless work on behalf of the poor disenfranchised — HERO!, HERO!, HERO!!!