Flags to fly at half-staff in Atlanta for Julian Bond

Flags over Atlanta City Hall are flying at half-staff in honor of the late civil rights leader Julian Bond.

Bond, the longtime head of the NAACP who rose to prominence in the 1960s during the Civil Rights Movement, died Saturday night in Fort Walton, Fla., following a brief illness.

Mayor Kasim Reed made a rare appearance at Monday’s Atlanta City Council meeting, where he spoke of Bond’s passing. Bond’s son, Michael Julian Bond, is an Atlanta councilman.

“This is a tough day because we have lost a real exemplar from the city of Atlanta, the state of Georgia and the nation,” Reed said.

Council President Ceasar Mitchell led a moment of silence in Bond’s honor.

The Rev. C.T. Vivian, also considered among the country’s most preeminent civil rights activists, remembered Bond on Monday as a member of the “black educational royalty.”

Vivian said Bond was already a “respected young poet” when he left Morehouse to become involved in the Civil Rights Movement. Bond served as the communications director of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and went on to become a state legislator, president of the Southern Poverty Law Center and board chairman of the NAACP.

Anyone who would “risk their lives for any period of time, and then stay with the struggle until they’re president of the largest organization that we have for justice, is a person that we should all highly respect and, at his death, should honor,” Vivian said.

Bond, he noted, “reached the heights of service to black people.”

Bond is also known for his work advancing the rights of the gay and lesbian community and was an advocate of same-sex marriage.

Funeral arrangements have not yet been made public.