Narrative Assignment – Julian Bond Speech Essay

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Narrative Assignment – Julian Bond Speech

When I entered the hall where the famous civil rights leader was going to speak, the crowd filing in reminded me more of a church congregation than of a university campus audience. The general mood had an air of formality about it and many people were dressed up for the occasion. Conversations were going on around me but in quiet, almost respectful tones as everyone located their seats. The surroundings at Smith Memorial Hall helped to set this formal mood, too, because the hall could be mistaken for a church with organ pipes in the background and flower arrangements set up on the podium. Unfortunately, any expectations that I had about Julian Bond giving a high-powered, energetic
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Unlike so many of the classroom lectures that university students have to attend each week, this one had the potential to be something extraordinary, and the audience waited with anticipation as the tall, white-haired, distinguished-looking man in a black suit took his place at the podium.

At the beginning of his speech, Bond talked about the progressive legacy in minority rights of the University of Illinois, but I was a little skeptical of his motives – whether he was being totally honest or just complimenting the Chancellor because he was, after all, being paid to speak. To be fair, Bond did look and sound comfortable addressing an audience of mostly white people and seemed genuinely interested in sharing his experiences and advice with all of us.

Throughout the course of his speech, Bond highlighted many of the significant historical events of the civil right movements, especially the landmark decision of Brown v. Board of Education. He said that even as a young child, he always dreamed of attending college but at that time, all the major universities were “white.” Bond said that, taken at face value, Brown v. Board of Education was a tremendous victory for the movement, but he then explained the reality of how it was enforced. The court’s order “with all deliberate speed” didn’t mean that the desegregation of schools would happen overnight, and segregationists

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