On what would have been Julian Bond's 76th birthday, more than 200 people gathered Thursday at Lincoln University to celebrate the life and legacy of a prominent leader of the civil rights movement.
Bond, who helped found the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in 1960 and served as a chairman of the NAACP, was the son of Lincoln University's first black president, Horace Mann Bond.
Bond was 5 when his father took the job and he spent his childhood on the campus. Lincoln, the country's first degree-granting historically black college or university, awarded him an honorary degree in 1970.
Bond, who died Aug. 15, was "a dear son of Lincoln University," Richard Green, interim president of the school, told the students, staff, and community members assembled in a theater in the International Cultural Center on Thursday morning.
Dorothy Green, a friend who spent summers with Bond in Louisville, Ky., when they were children, asked Lincoln students to honor his legacy.
"I ask, as I think Julian would, 'What is your task?' " she said.
She encouraged them to be involved in all aspects of the political process, including voting, writing to politicians with their ideas and concerns, and running for office.
Bond, a graduate of Morehouse College in Atlanta, organized voter-registration drives in the South and led student protests against segregation. He was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives in 1965 and served in the state Senate for six terms, starting in 1975.
He also was the first president of the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Robert Moses, another leader in the civil rights movement, gave the keynote speech at Thursday's memorial service, telling stories about working with Bond and his dedication and sense of humor.
Among the speeches, prayers, and poems Thursday, the Lincoln University Concert Choir sang "Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing," often called the black national anthem, and led the audience in singing "We Shall Overcome."
Patricia Joseph, interim provost and academic vice president at Lincoln, asked those assembled to be inspired by what they heard.
"This day, we have lifted up and remembered Julian Bond," she said. "And in doing so, we have been lifted."