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Julian Bond speaks on civil rights

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[cw+1]Julian Bond speaks on civil rights

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By David B. Oberman

"In civil rights, generally, a retreat has been sounded," said Julian Bond, state senator from Georgia, president of the Southern chapter of the NAACP, syndicated columnist, and civil rights activist.

Bond spoke on the history and future of the civil rights movement and the black situation in America in a speech titled, "What's Next," delivered last Friday night in the Sala de Puerto Rico.

Although much progress has been made since the days of segregated restrooms and lunch [el-15p]

counters, and blacks now occupy positions that they could only dream of thirty years ago, Bond pointed out that a number of problems still confront blacks.

Infant mortality rates among blacks have been rising in recent years and the median family income is low compared to that of the rest of the nation, Bond said. He cited President Ronald Reagan's cutbacks in social programs and refusal to acknowledge the existence of the black community's economic problems as major contributors to the current undesirable situation.

"The effect of the president's [el-15p]

policies will be to drive low-income families deeper into poverty," Bond said.

Bond added that he felt it would have made a "radical difference" to the current civil rights situation if a different Administration controlled the government.

When asked if he considered "militancy" an appropriate means for bringing about social change, he replied that he believed in aggressively going after his goal, but did not advocate violence. He added, however, "If I could be convinced that random violence would further the cause, then I would be in favor of it."

In closing, Senator Bond called for an increased public effort to improve civil rights. He pointed to the recent protests at the South African embassy, Reagan's subsequent public condemnation of apartheid, and the president of South Africa's recent decision to "renegotiate" that country's current racial policies as examples of successful action on the part of citizens.

Senator Bond's speech was the fourth Shirley Jackson lecture, which is given every year by distinguished black speakers. These lectures are named after the first black woman to earn a doctorate from MIT.