by Alex Darr
Last Wednesday, January 23rd, one of the grandfathers of the Civil rights movement spoke to over 500 students and members of the public in the Ira Allen Chapel on the University of Vermont campus.
“There are many people in this audience who would say I was a student of Dr. King”, Julian Bond explained. However, it seems that Dr. King had only taught one class. Only eight people took that class and Mr. Bond was one of them.
Mr. Bond went on to say that after the Civil Rights Act of 1965 and the Voting Rights Act had increased the number of black voters he had become a member of the Georgia Legislature and had served for over twenty years.
He spoke a bit about the history of discrimination and racism, but told the students that he is convinced that racism is worse today.
“The task ahead is enormous…equal to if not greater than the job already done”.
Again, “Jim Crow may be dead, but racism is alive and well….that’s the central fact of life for every non-white American”
Although examples of the racism he is so convinced pervades society were not forthcoming in his speech that evening, a quote from May 14, 2013 confirms his unflagging conviction about racism and the segments of society to which he attributes it.
At that time he called out the Tea Party as the “Taliban wing of American politics….a group of people who are admittedly racist, who are overtly political, who’ve tried as best as they can to harm President Obama in every way they can”
In 2004, in a speech to the NAACP, he compared Republicans to Confederate soldiers during the Civil War, conveniently forgetting that during the Civil War the Republicans were the party of the abolitionists..
In his speech here at UVM, his remarks were much more tame, I wonder if anyone there was aware or cared that he had said such things about the Tea Party and the Republican Party.
We can thank the President of UVM, Thomas Sullivan and the Department of Student Life at UVM for bringing Julian Bond.