The Papers of Julian Bond

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(Online Participant) Speech made before the Hungry Club

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Although the Hungry Club is a non-partisan forum, I should liketo take advantage of this audience and announce my candidacy for an im-portant political office , with national implications, involving the 5thCongressional District.

On Monday, I qualitfied to become a candidate for one of the 4 Democraticdelegate seats from Georgia's 5th Congressional District. My brother Jamesis a candidate for one of the three alternate seats. We both invite yoursupport. We are both going to be on the ballot at the March 11 convention hereas "uncommitted" delegates, believing that the interests of Black Georgiansare best represented by delegates pledged to issues, and not to personalities.

These March 11th conventions across the state are of course the directresult of the 1968 challenge delegation from Georgia at the 1968 DemocraticDelegation. Those activities four years ago forced recalcitrant states likeGeorgia to abolish their elitist methods of selecting national conventiondelegates, and forced them to adopt selection processes which include a maximum of grassroots participation.

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The presidental elections in 1972 are of particluar importanceto Black Americans. At issue will be our future relationship with thegovernment of the United States.

On the ballot in Georgia in November of this year are likely to be the names ofthree anglo-saxon men in their 50s.

Two of the names are presumably already known. They are the incumbentpresdient, Richard Nixon, and the hillbilly hitler from Alabama, GeorgeWallace. The third name is important to us. Unlike voters in New Yorkor California and a few other states, there is not likely to be a fourthslternative on our ballot in November. Our November choice is between WallaceNixon, and someone else.

The someone else will not be someone who will eradicate all poverty, endall wars, erase all discrimination, eliminate all injustice.

Presidents in the United States never do those things. He will - and I emphasize "he" - choose new members of the Supreme Court who willdecide whether 600 men on death row will die, whether the Georgia legislature'redistricting plan is valid, whether public school integration will continueat snail's pace, halt completely, or proceed without the current firings ofblack teachers and closing of black schools.

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He will help set the budget for and policies of the Departments ofHealth, Education and Welfare and Housing and Urban Development.

He will - more than anyone else - determine whether the war against the innocent and righteous people of Vietnam halts completely, whethermore of our sons and fathers dies there, whether we embark on other mindlessadventures like thisone.

He will name commissioners of the Federal Communications Commissionwho can help decide whether Black Atlanta can see the educational programBlack Journal on the tv station in the country owned by a board of educationwith a black president. He will influence the course of legislation whichwill determine whether the proposed West Side Highway ravages my neighborhood,whether public housing continues to be shunted into one section ofevery big city. He will help decide whether welfare reform will be family destruction.

In other words, he will be important in each of our lives.

The decision about who this third, namesless someone will be will bemade this summer in Miami.

Who ever turns out to be, he has got to be better than the man we have there now.

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Particularly important for us is to teach a hard lesson to the party that 90% of us voted for in 1964 and 1968, the party whose support in the last presidential election was 20% black.

We have got to find some way to avoid continuing to be the illegitimate child at the family reunion, always having to wait in the kitchen while the other family members - organized labor, the few remaining big city bosses, the more respectable elements of the dixiecrat South - eat up all of the gravy.

We therefore find ourselves between two compelling dillemnas - wanting on the one hand the permanent elimination of Richard Nixon from public office, and on the other hand, not to be taken for granted by any political party again.

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Street YMCA.

But that is the subject of another day.

Let me leave you withsome words from W. E. B. DuBois. Speaking in 1934 on the theme: "A Negro Nation Within the Nation", he said:

"Negroes and other colored folk exist in larger and growing numbers.Slavery, prostitution to white men,theft of their labor and goods have notkilled them and will not kill them. They are growing in intelligence and indissatisfaction. They occuoy strategic positions, withinnations and beside nations, amid valuable raw material and on the highway to future expansion. They will survive, but onwhat terms and what conditions?.........With the use of their political power, their power as consumers, and their brainpower, .......Negroes can develop in the United States a nation within a nation."

We must develop a city within this city, with or without Sandy Springwith or without the Fulton Industrial District, with or without any immediatechanges in our political fortunes.

We can begin by trying to control our own politics. We can begin by supportingour own institutions, like the YMCA. We can begin by constrolingour own money, by spending our dollarswhere they will come back to us.

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We can begin by policing our own community, letting the sellers of poison to our children know that the price of drugs is death.

We can begin by getting ourselves together.

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statue of liberty

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(Scholars’ Lab) "Meet the Press" NBC interview with Julian Bond, 30 January 1966

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days, I must have talked to-not very many people, about 200or 250 at the most, and their opinions generally were in agree-ment with this statement and inagreement with my right toexpress myself on any issue that I saw.

In fact, I might say that some of them-I don't like to usethis word, but some of them had opinions about the war inViet Nam that were more extreme than this document.

MR. SCHERER: You think most of the 6,000 would supportthis statement?

MR. BOND: I don't know if they would or not. I know thatall of those that I talked to did.

MR. NOVAK: Mr. Bond, I would like to get into some of thewording of this statement because it is interesting that youmention there could be a position of little more extreme. Forexample, it says, "We maintain that our country's crusade topreserve freedom in the world is a hypocritcal mask behindwhich it squashes liberation movement."

What is a liberation movement?

MR. BOND: I think that I have to agree with Senator Young,I think it was, who said that the struggle in Viet Nam was acivil war.

MR. NOVAK: Is the Viet Cong a liberation movement, Mr.Bond?

MR. BOND: I don't know what the Viet Cong are. I have theimpression that they are not what I would call a liberation move-ment.

MR. NOVAK: What liberation movements are we squashingaccording to the SNCC statement?

MR. BOND: According to this statement and according tomy beliefs, the liberation movement that is being squashed inthat particular instance is the struggle of people who live inNorth and South Viet Nam and who want self-determination,who want to rule themselves.

MR. NOVAK: Do you mean this is not the Viet Cong that weare fighting in Viet Nam? Are we fighting someone else besidethe Viet Cong?

MR. BOND: There are a lot of differences of opinion aboutwho is fighting and whether it is infiltrators from the North orwhether is is citizens of the South-whether it is a civil war.

MR. NOVAK: You don't think it is a Communist-led operation,the Viet Cong?

MR. BOND: I don't know if it is.

MR. NOVAK: You have made several statements about VietNam, Mr. Bond. Have you made any study of the subject?

MR. BOND: I have tried to learn as much about it as I can.

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might be oppressing, whether it is an American or Red Chinese or North -

MR. BOND: That is right.

MR. KAPLOW: How else do you equate civil rights with Viet Nam? A lot of the other civil rights groups - for instance, the head of the Atlanta Chapter of NAACP - say that you shouldn't equate the two.

MR. BOND: I equate it. I think the opposition to the war in Vietnam in this country among a great many people is moral opposition. That is, it is not political opposition; it is opposition of people who feel that that particular war is wrong on a moral ground. I think that is the same sort of opposition that the civil rights movement has been engaged in against segregation. It has been moral opposition to segregation as well as political and physical opposition to segregation.

MR. KAPLOW: Again referring back to this document which is sort of becoming, I guess, the Bible for my questioning, anyway, but you say the United States in effect has not done enough or moved quickly enough on civil rights, and you mentioned a couple of laws. You don't feel that legislation in '57 or, I think, '61, '64 and '65 and a whole string of court rulings all favoring desegregation marks progress against segregation?

MR. BOND: No, the document doesn't say there hasn't been progress. It does say that there has not been, in our opinion, enough progress.

MR. KAPLOW: I think that it is stronger than that. I can' read it here, now, but I think it implies that the United States has fallen short of carrying out its committment. Is that fair?

MR. BOND: Yes, that is fair. That is my belief.

MR. SCHERER: Mr. Bond, I am wondering what you and your friends see as a central issue here in your difficulties with the legislature. Is it perhaps the right to dissent?

MR. BOND: I think it is two important issues. First, it is certainly the right to free speech, the right of dissent, the right to voice an opinion that may be unpopular, but I think a second and equally as important an issue is that right of people - in this case, my constituents - to be represented by someone they chose, their right ot make a free choice in a free election, to choose someone to represent them. I think in this instance the Georgia House of Representatives has denied them that right.

MR. SCHERER: How many of your constituents feel the same way you do about Viet Nam, do you know?

MR. BOND: Since this became an issue, I tried to talk with as many as I could, and I've got - or I had, 25,000 constituents, men, women and children, about 6,000 registered voters. In three

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men had a sort of link, a common struggle against white oppression in some places, white majorities elsewhere, and if these links were beginning to be forced more closely

MR. BOND: I don't want to characterize the oppression as white. It unfortunately is in a great many cases, but I don't think it is that case. I think it is the case that colored people have had in a great many instances, a common struggle against some sort of oppression.

MR. WICKER: To be specific, would you see any striking similarity between the civil rights struggle in the United States in which you have been such an active participant and a revolutionary movement like that of the Viet Cong?

MR. BOND: No, I don't see that sort of a similarity. I see a similarity between people - in one case Negroes in the United States, in other cases people who live in Viet Nam - who are struggling. That is one parallel. The other parallel is that Negroes in the United States are struggling against a system of segregation and discrimination and oppression, and the same sort of parallel has been suggested, not by me, as going on in Viet Nam, today.

MR. KAPLOW: Mr. Bond, to follow up what you just said about an affinity of people who are struggling, do you feel that maybe one of the targets of the struggling in Viet Nam not only is what is characterized in this document, which you endorsed and which started this whole thing, from SNCC - not only the United States but also the Communist side? Would you feel that they were also - people were struggling against them?

MR. BOND: The feeling that I have is that people who live in Viet Nam, North and South, are struggling to determine their own destiny in some way or another. The impression I get is that they would like very much to be left alone, not only by the United States but by the Viet Cong as well.

MR. KAPLOW: This document, whicih started all this and which was put out by SNCC, only condemns the United States. It doesn't condemn the North Vietnamese or the Viet Cong or any other group - or the Red Chinese.

MR. BOND: Right. I will condemn them here, but my position in endorsing this document, and I believe, the position of those who drafted it was that we are, after all, Americans who live in this country, and I feel a much greater responsibility toward criticizing or praising the actions of this country than I do toward praising or criticizing the actions of another.

MR. KAPLOW: However, if you make your point that the common bond is struggling peoples, then it doesn't make any difference who is against them, you are against all those who

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I had taken the mental examination, I was given a status of1-Y, which I understand means not to be called except in caseof national emergency, and I never believed that my service inthe military would be in issue.

MR. ROBINSON: Mr. Bond, you indicated your position onwar in general just a moment ago-that you are a pacifist andyou believe in non-violence. At the same time when we took itdown to the personal level, you indicated you would make a decision on that when and if it happened.

Are you in a sense, then, saying you would support those wareswhich happened to come up if they go along with your ideasand reject those that you do not agree with?

MR. BOND: No, what I was trying to indicate is that I don'tlike to answer questions about hypothetical situations becauseI don't think anyone really knows how he is going to react in a hypothetical situation. I am not a selective pacifist; I don'tchoose this war over that war. I oppose all wars and I opposeall violence.

MR. ROBINSON: At the same time you indicated when itcame down to your family, you would have to wait until thatsituation took place, although you would oppose all wars in thefuture as in the past.

MR. BOND: No, that is not what I was saying. I was tryingto indicate that, as far as I am concerned, I am a pacifist whetherit concerns my family or war in Viet Nam or a war wherever.

MR. ROBINSON: You have been a pacifist for smoe time, butwhy didn't you make your position known, as a pacifist, whenyou were running for office in Georgia, and why didn't you makeyour views on Viet Nam known during the campaign?

MR. BOND: My views on non-violence were known during thecampaign. The question of Viet Name is not a question that theGeorgia House of Representatives, the office that I was aspiringto, addresses itself to. I didn't think it was an issue.

MR. WICKER: Mr. Bond, aside fro your general pacifistviews, as a thoughtful and aspiring American Negro, do youfeel more personal affinity with other aspiring non-white men inAsia and Africa, perhaps, than with the great majority of whiteAmericans?

MR. BOND: I feel an emotion attachment toward Africaand toward colored people, but I don't think that colored peopleare any better or any worse than white people. I don't feel that because colored people are engaging in a struggle against whitepeople that the colored people must be right.

MR. WICKER: I was suggesting that you were. I waswondering if you felt somehow that across the world, non-white

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