At the NAACP's "Evening With Julian Bond," held at the California African American Museum, next door to the LA Coliseum, last Friday, June 12th, to help in the celebration of NAACP's 100th Anniversary, Julian Bond, the Board Chairman of the NAACP, told the packed audience that, 1) "Julian Bond and the Hot Pants" was the name of the singing group he always wanted to form; 2) that he always wanted to be a movie director, directing crime dramas; and 3) he was an actor in such movies as, "Ray" and "King." The evening, which started with a free cocktail hour, was studded with Hollywood luminaries such as the TV/film actress Denise Nicholas ("In The Heat of The Night," "Room 222"), who had a "discussion" (an interview) with Mr. Bond, after his enlightening speech about the achievements and the future of the NAACP. Introducing Bond was CBS News correspondent, Bill Whitaker; and California Assembly Speaker Karen Bass, the first African American leader of any legislative body in the United States; the first African American police chief in Los Angeles, L.A. City Councilman, Bernard Parks; as well as Assemblyman Mike Davis, and L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas.
The main points of Julian Bond's speech were that the NAACP is very current, and up to date with young people, as evidenced by the fact that it reserves 25% of it board members for persons under 25 years old, and these Board members are elected by those who are under 25 years old. Further, the NAACP is at the forefront of with the fight against HIV, in part because African American women are the largest group with this deadly disease. Mr. Bond acknowledged that even though we now have an African American President of the United States, and the California Assembly Speaker is an African American, he stated that "the more we do, we have to do." Even though there are more Blacks in college now then ever before, "racism is alive and well in America."
Although both his parents were educators, Julian's parents never pushed him to do anything in particular, but they expected him to do something. His mother continued to work as a librarian until she was 96 years of age.
For those planning on inviting a special speaker to give a speech, the "discussion" after the speech was a very effective way for getting to know the person giving the speech. As Denise Nicholas demonstrated during her interview with her friendly questions to Mr. Bond, while they sat around a coffee table on the stage, in the stye of a TV talk-show, you can really get to know the speaker by revealing a side of their personal history that the audience would not have experienced through their speech alone.
After the presentations lots of people approached Mr. Bond at the stage, and he graciously answered their individual questions, and posed for pictures with them. It was an evening in which a historic member of the black fight for equality was honored, and were Mr. Bond set the tone for the continued fight.