At TMS today, Kelly Kleiman has a wonderful story about a dinner with civil rights legend Julian Bond, which she uses to re-educate us about the huge impact on African-American opportunity in the South of the Rosenwald Schools and Rosenwald Fellows program (which she discussed with Bond, whose father was a Fellow).
As a Georgian, I’ve obviously been watching Julian Bond for decades. I remember a high school friend getting robbed during an antiwar rally in Atlanta, and the thing she was most upset about was losing a Julian Bond autograph.
But I have a rather different family story about Bond. When the Georgia House of Representatives refused to seat him in 1966 because he refused to disclaim SNCC’s sympathy for draft resisters, there were big demonstrations at the Capital. As it happens, an uncle of mine (long since deceased) was on duty as a state highway patrol officer, manning a barricade. One of the pro-Bond demonstrators pointed right at him and shouted: “Look at him! Look at him! He’s right out of the corn fields!”
My uncle, who was indeed a country fellow, had the wit to laugh at it, and at himself.