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Julian Bond (1940-2015)

Updated: Jul 4, 2022

My initial email to Julian Bond was immediately followed by his reply. On March 20, 2012 he wrote: “Thank you for your kind message. I am flattered immensely to hear that you want to make a film about my life. However, you should know that I am retiring from UVA on May 1st, and I will only be at the school on Tuesday afternoons between today and then. If that fits your schedule, please contact me.” The rest is history and we remained in contact until his sudden death three years after the premiere and release of Julian Bond: Reflections from the Frontlines of the Civil Rights Movement.

During the brief period that followed the making of our film, Julian would write in reply to questions that I failed to ask on camera when I had a chance. In a way the interview continued till the end:

“I actually ran for President but entered no primaries and won no delegates. I had developed what I called the "Black favorite son or daughter campaign, meaning that from selected states, a popular son or daughter politician would run for president and use the collected delegates they won to barter with other candidates for favorable positions in the party platform or other promises friendly to black interests. When no one took me up on it, I decided to try this, but I could not raise enough money to make it an effective campaign.”

Other times he would spontaneously write as he and his wife Pam travel around the country, lecturing, visiting friends or just living the way they always did. Often the emails will come with the attached image: The two of us yesterday at the deepest lake in the USA, Crater Lake in Oregon. His friendship and wisdom are greatly missed.

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