The American Forum's Jane Hall recently sat down with civil rights leader Julian Bond for a student town hall at American University to discuss numerous issues in connection with of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial dedication.
Bond has been a social activist and a civil-rights leader since he was a college student in the South in the 1960s. Bond studied with King; and he was a founder of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, which played a major role in civil-rights marches, Freedom Rides and voter-registration drives in the 1960s.
He is also chairman emeritus of the NAACP and an author, poet and professor.
Bond engaged with American University students and Hall about his own work as a young civil rights leader, women in the civil rights movement and what young people know - and don't know - about the legacy of King and civil rights. He also challenged the students to become involved in the great social issues of their time.
You can watch all three segments of the show below:
Julian Bond on Life as a Civil Rights Leader at 20, Advice for Today's Organizers
Bond reflects on being a civil rights leader, working with Martin Luther King, Jr. and leading protests at 20, the same age as the students in the room. Bond cites a Southern Poverty Law Center project, Teaching Tolerance, showing that students today lack knowledge about the Civil Rights Movement, what they do know boils down to MLK, Rosa Parks and "I Have a Dream". Bond and student have a Q&A about the important impact of media images of protests on civil rights legislation. Bond also advises on how to organize.
Bond on Women in the Civil Rights Movement, Students Share Personal Stories on Education Opportunities and Community Organizing
Extended Q & A on role of women in the Civil Rights Movement, including Diane Nash and Freedom Rides. Bond emphasizes that while MLK was a great man, of course, he didn't do it alone-others participated, men and women. Extended Q & A in which one student shares his experience at a failing school in Atlanta, Ga. and asks about role of education and crisis in black male achievement as new big civil-rights issue. Bond says schools are re-segregating, more segregated than in 1969, and it is no longer thought of as good for black children and white children to go to school together. Extended Q & A in which another student talks about growing up in Southeast Washington, DC, trying to organize and finding people today less interested in commuity and more materialistic. Bond rejects the idea that his generation was altruistic and today's generation is materialistic, but challenges students to be more involved in great issues of our time.
Julian Bond on Wall Street, Social Media, What Students Need to Know about the Civil Rights Movement
Bond engages with a student going into business about failure of Wall Street to do social good; weighs in on social media, refuting the notion that more information necessarily leads to confusion, apathy. Bond responds to student's question on what students should (but don't) know about the Civil Rights Movement Hall poses a series of questions she asks her students in her media history course about the civil rights era. Bond argues that No Child Left Behind has pushed American History - including the Civil Rights Movement - out of the classroom.