An Open Letter to Civil Rights Pioneer Julian Bond from Morehouse Student Govt. Association

Dear Brother Julian Bond,

I must humbly acknowledge I was reluctant when first asked to pen this letter. I admit I was only aware of the significance of your accomplishments on a superficial level mostly through mainstream media. I knew you only as Mr. Bond and not as my long-lost big brother, Julian.

Your recent passing has been widely publicized. I had ignored such reports, complacent in my own ignorance. In my mind, you were just another civil rights activist who was involved in America's march to racial equality.

However, what I've come to learn through my recent encounters with you -- through the testimonies of family and friends, video interviews, articles and your own poetry -- is that you were more than this; you were an English major, a student of life, and a trailblazer for equality. More so, you were a paragon for every Morehouse student to come; a candle in the dark.

Your fire blazed early on. Founding and serving as communications director for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. You advocated both for fair employment and housing in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's "Appeal for Human Rights" and organized student protests against Jim Crow on the state and national levels. You brought attention to and acted with the Atlanta Student Movement, the City of Atlanta, and the Civil Rights Movement. But you did not stop there.

You later left Morehouse as the civil rights movement gained footing in 1961. Shortly thereafter, you served as chairman of the NAACP, where you championed the interests of our community. You then served as founding president of the Southern Poverty Law Center in the Seventies. There, you campaigned against discrimination.

From the NAACP to the State General Assembly, you influenced change through every opportunity presented to you. You took a seat at the table and pivoted perspectives, all the while being urbane: a true Morehouse Man.

Your tenacity coupled with your intellect revealed to the world that Morehouse instills into her sons the promise of perseverance and growth. We, your brothers, have taken charge and will continue to challenge ourselves as we strive to create the world of our dreams just as you yourself did.

I apologize for not knowing. From what I have learned, you've never been afraid of uncertainty. Bold and courageous, you countered ignorance and the unknown. You continued to press into dark places; to blaze the trail.

Brother Bond, thank you for being a light in the darkness. We will strive to shine in your honor.

With sincerest respect,

Timothy P. Tukes, on the behalf of Morehouse College SGA

Campus Editor-at-Large, The Huffington Post
HBCU All-Star, The White House Initiative on HBCUs