Civil rights attorney Jane Bond Moore speaks during Thursday night’s meeting at the Albany Civil Rights Institute. Moore recalled memories of growing up during the turbulent 1960s.
ALBANY, Ga. — Jane Bond Moore says she’s no hero, but she knows many people who are.
“I wasn’t on the front line of the (civil rights) Movement,” Moore, the younger sister of civil rights icon Julian Bond, told a crown gathered at the Albany Civil Rights Institute Thursday night.
“I didn’t get arrested, I didn’t get shot at, but I did something. Everybody else was up in Washington getting their pictures made and I was in Atlanta typing legal briefs.”
Moore, a professor of history and political science at Notre Dame de Nanmur University in Belmont, Calif., said her family stressed education and that helped propel the siblings to the forefront of the Movement in the turbulent ’60s.
“We can from a family that loved education,” Moore said. “It was understood that we would be educated and that we were to take it as far as we could.”
Jane and Julian Bond grew up in the home of a college president. Their father, Horace Mann Bond, was the first president of Fort Valley State College and later president of Lincoln University.
A man ahead of his times, Horace Mann Bond fought for civil rights long before the modern movement emerged in the 1950s. He was a widely known writer on the social, education, and economic issues that affected the African American community.
He was noted for writing a stinging critique of white society’s claims about African American intelligence. Nurtured in this rich cultural environment, Julian Bond and Jane Bond Moore followed their father’s interest in community, emulated his boldness, and continued his struggle for racial progress in America.
“Growing up on black college campus in the 40s and 50s, they were really black. There were no white people anywhere,” Moore recalled. “I remember I went back to Fort Valley several years ago and was surprised there were actually white people in the town.”
Moore was a teenager when her father moved the family from Chicago back to Georgia in 1957.
“Segregation was deep, really deep by law back then,” Moore said. “There were a lot of rules with no rules. We had to figure most of them out on our own and there were dire consequences if you got it wrong.
“You were liable to be arrested — or worse.”
Moore’s involvement with civil rights began with her work for the Southern Regional Council monitoring southern racist violence. She later worked behind the scenes at the SNCC (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee) headquarters in Atlanta, where she began the first integrated cooperative nursery school in Atlanta
She thinks the tipping point of the Movement came during the Freedom Summer of 1964 in Mississippi.
“It was at that time that SNCC turned from sit-ins to voter registration,” Moore said. “We knew we needed to elect people who would actually enforce the existing laws on the books. They (SNCC) decided to bring down white college students from the North because no one cared if anything happened to the black students, but if anything happened to white kids people would notice that.”
In June of 1964 three activists were arrested in Philadelphia, Miss. Two of the students — Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman were white. The third, James Chaney, was black.
Shortly after their release from jail the trio was ambushed by Ku Klux Klan members and murdered. Then-Attorney General Robert Kennedy ordered an FBI investigation.
It took seven weeks to find the trio’s bodies and the tide of the Civil Rights Movement changed.
“The most extreme signs of racism are now gone,” but poverty and racism still exists, and the struggle continues.”
Julian Bond will speak at 7:30 tonight at the Albany State University Student Center.