Julian Bond: Civil Rights Activist

In the 1960s, student civil rights activist-turned-Georgia legislator Julian Bond, who passed away Aug. 15 at age 75 in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., cut such a charismatic figure with his slim, handsome looks and dazzling gift for oratory that some envisioned him becoming the first African-American U.S. President. Instead, that political pinnacle eventually was achieved by Barack Obama, who shared many of Bond’s attributes. But Bond, who went on to become chairman of the NAACP from 1998 to 2010, helped …

At 103, Selma Marcher Shows Us All How to Live

The “Bloody Sunday” 50th anniversary march was an event that inspired people across America to stand for justice wherever injustice prevails. In that regard, among the greatest inspirations at the March 7 commemoration was 103-year-old Amelia Boynton Robinson, a foot soldier who marched with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Who would have thought that this heroine, knocked unconscious by the Alabama State Police during the original Bloody Sunday protest, would return 50 years later, marching in a wheelchair alongside Barack …

Hollywood Fearless

Recently our new AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins challenged Americans to “Be Fearless at 50+.” What does that mean? I saw the answer in action recently when actress and activist Holly Robinson Peete got an oversized AARP card as she celebrated her 50th birthday at a star-studded oceanside party in Malibu, Calif. The event raised money for Holly’s charity to support Parkinson’s and autism research, two causes that have affected her family and many more across the U.S. Her family …

Grace Lee Boggs: Still a Revolutionary at Age 99

At 99, Grace Lee Boggs is rather matter-of-fact when you ask her about aging:  “It’s like preparing for disability,” she deadpans. “You have a lot of time to think and a lot to think about. I have reflected more on particular episodes of my life than I ever thought I would.” Boggs has had quite a life to reflect on. The story of the erudite daughter of Chinese immigrants who morphed into a civil rights and black power activist in …

Ruby Dee, Actress and Civil Rights Activist, Dies at 91

Ruby Dee had impressive versatility as an actress in Broadway dramas, TV soap operas and movies that included Buck and the Preacher (1972) and Do the Right Thing (1989). Dee, who passed away on June 12 at age 92 in New Rochelle, N.Y., had an equally impressive career as a civil rights activist. She and her husband of nearly six decades, actor Ossie Davis, spoke out in the 1950s against McCarthyism; organized a campaign to press the government to restore the …

AIDS Activist Mary Fisher’s Newest Good Deed

Who knew that counting beads could help change the world? Mary Fisher had a notion it would. The AIDS activist and author immediately saw the power of connecting beads to good deeds after meeting a filmmaker who told her about a game he played with his children to track their anonymous acts of kindness. “I was fascinated by this,” says Fisher, 65, from her home in Sedona, Ariz. “The minute he said beads I thought I had to do a …