Friday, March 23, 2012

Julian Bond Celebration Gala to Honor Human Rights Icon and Advance Teaching of Civil Rights Studies

Gala will raise funds to create the Julian Bond Professorship in Civil Rights and Social Justice at the University of Virginia

Actor Harry Belafonte and musician Dave Matthews to serve as co-chairs

On Wednesday, May 2, 2012, a powerful group of 400-500 leaders of industry, business, arts, politics, community and culture will gather at the Plaza Hotel Ballroom in New York to honor Julian Bond through music and spoken word for his long history as a civil rights leader. The gala will also serve as a fundraiser to create the Julian Bond Professorship in Civil Rights and Social Justice that will advance the teaching and interpreting of civil rights studies at the University of Virginia. The professorship will create a powerful synergy among the many faculty and students who are working to shed new light on the civil rights movement and the African American experience.

An endowed chair, with its prestige and financial rewards, is one of the highest honors a faculty member can receive, attesting to a scholar’s standing among peers, both within the University and throughout the academic world. The chairholder will also draw on the scholarly resources of the Carter G. Woodson Institute for African American and African Studies, a productive and highly respected center of teaching and research on the African diaspora, in this country and around the world.

Harry Belafonte and Dave Matthews will serve as distinguished co-chairs, and many celebrities are scheduled to participate.
The celebration committee members for the gala are Thaderine MacFarlane & Kathy Thornton-Bias (Co-Chairs), Daisy L. Lovelace, Lesia Bates Moss, Matt Paco, Michael Shure, Maxim Thorne, Gretchen Tibbits, Michael Turner, Alessandro F. Uzielli and Kristin van Ogtrop. The Young Patrons committee members are Ann Marie MacFarlane (Chair), Lauren A. Grayson, Brandon Kelly and Paul MacFarlane.

The gala will begin at 6:30pm with a reception, followed by dinner and tribute at 7:30 pm and dessert and mingling at 10:00 pm. Tickets and tables are available for purchase. Contact Melanie McEvoy at 212-228-7446 x12 or for more information and visit the website at

Chairman of the NAACP from 1998 to 2010, Julian Bond was a founding member of the Southern Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and served in the Georgia State Assembly for more than 20 years. In 2002, he received the National Civil Rights Museum’s annual Freedom Award and in 2008 was named a “Living Legend” by the Library of Congress. In March 2007, Mr. Bond led the first-ever “Civil Rights South Tour,” a six-day University-sponsored trip to landmark sites that included meetings with key figures of the American civil rights movement. Often heard in the media as a commentator on current issues, he narrated “Eyes on the Prize,” the acclaimed PBS series on the civil rights movement.

The study of the civil rights era is vital not only to academic scholarship but also to public understanding of recent American history and how it has led to our present condition. It is critically important that students and the public know the history of the civil rights movement so that concerned citizens can recognize any effort to reverse advances in equal opportunity and empowerment for women and minorities. By providing resources to sustain faculty expertise on the civil rights movement and the legacy of one of its most distinguished leaders, the Julian Bond Professorship of Civil Rights and Social Justice will make this possible.