The University of Iowa
The University of Iowa News Services Home News Releases UI in the News Subscribe to UI News Contact Us

University of Iowa News Release

Oct. 26, 2005

Civil Rights Pioneer Julian Bond To Keynote UI 'Celebrate Voting!' Events

The struggle for voting rights is not only in our past, but also our present and future, according to Julian Bond, longtime civil rights activist and current chairman of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Bond will speak on "Civil Rights, Voting Rights: Now and Then," at 4 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 3 in Levitt Auditorium, Boyd Law Building at the University of Iowa. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Bond's address is the keynote event of "Celebrate Voting!" -- a series of events Nov. 2-4 presented by the UI Center for Human Rights and the Iowa Secretary of State's Office to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the 85th anniversary of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which granted women the right to vote.

Bond said important provisions of the 1965 Voting Rights Act are due to expire in 2007 unless Congress re-authorizes them. Among them is a section of the Act that allows federal observers to go to jurisdictions where there is evidence of intimidation of minority voters, and another that provides bilingual assistance to voters. Most important, Bond said, is Section 5, which requires jurisdictions that want to change voting practices and procedures -- including redistricting, annexation, at-large elections, changes in polling places, and new qualifying rules for candidates -- to have those changes pre-approved.

"A bi-partisan Congressional report in 1982 warned that without this provision, discrimination would reappear 'overnight,'" Bond told the NAACP National Convention in July. "Anyone who claims that voting rights for minority Americans are now secure need only look to (presidential election results in) Florida in 2000 and Ohio in 2004."

Bond has been an active participant in the civil rights movement since his student days at Morehouse College in Atlanta, where he founded the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in 1960. He participated in protests and registration campaigns throughout the South in the 1960s, and in 1965 was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives. He was prevented from taking his seat by members who objected to his opposition to the Vietnam War. He was re-elected to his own vacant seat only to be unseated again, and eventually seated after a third election and a unanimous decision of the U.S. Supreme Court, and served more than 20 years. He was a member of a challenge delegation from Georgia to the 1968 Democratic National Convention, which was successful in unseating Georgia's regular Democrats.

Jesse Jackson has called Bond "a legendary force in the last half of the 20th century, whose work, vision and sacrifice, and whose call to conscience lifted a generation. Of our generation of activists who survived the bullets and the lynchings, there is no brighter light, no keener mind, than Julian Bond."

In addition to the Voting Rights Act and the 19th Amendment, "Celebrate Voting!" also marks the 15th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the implementation of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA). Communities across Iowa are participating to mark the legacy of voting rights in America, and to educate and engage Iowans about their right to vote. For information on events in other communities, visit the "Celebrate Voting!" Web site,

"Celebrate Voting!" is a joint initiative of the UI Center for Human Rights, Iowa Secretary of State Chet Culver, the Iowa State Historical Foundation, the Iowa Department of Human Rights, the Iowa Civil Rights Commission, the NAACP State Conference, the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics, and the League of Women Voters of Iowa. Local partners include the Iowa Women's Archives, UI Libraries, Iowa City Community School District and the African-American Historical Museum and Cultural Center in Cedar Rapids.

For more information or special accommodations to attend any UICHR event, contact the UICHR at 319-335-3900.

Founded in 1999, the UICHR is a direct outgrowth of Global Focus: Human Rights '98, the yearlong UI commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of Dec. 10, 1948. Initiated by a multidisciplinary group of faculty, the center's mission is to support the promotion and protection of human rights at home and abroad by providing leadership in human rights research, education, and public service to the UI, its surrounding community, the state of Iowa, and beyond.

The UICHR is affiliated with UI International Programs, which consists of a number of offices, centers, academic programs, research projects and services. Organized under the associate provost and dean for international programs, these units serve to further internationalize the campus and community and promote global scholarship, research and teaching.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACT(S): Media: Mary Geraghty Kenyon, 319-384-0011,; Program: UI Center for Human Rights, 319-335-3900; Writer: Julia LaBua