"It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of legendary civil rights activist Julian Bond, SPLC's first president," the organization said in a statement on their website. "With Julian's passing, the country has lost one of its most passionate and eloquent voices for the cause of justice. He advocated not just for African Americans, but for every group, indeed every person subject to oppression and discrimination, because he recognized the common humanity in us all. Not only has the country lost a hero today, we've lost a great friend."
Born in Nashville, Tenn., Bond co-founded the Student Nonviolence Coordinating Committee while a student at Morehouse College, leading protests against segregation. He later served for 20 years in the Georgia Legislature and was also a professor at American University and the University of Virginia.
In 1998, Bond became the chairman of the NAACP, a position he held until 2009. Following his passing, the organization tweeted:
The NAACP mourns the passing of Chairman Julian Bond, civil rights titan and our brother. May he rest in eternal peace.— NAACP (@NAACP) August 16, 2015
Bond is survived by his wife, Pamela Horowitz, a former SPLC staff attorney, and his five children.