At the party in his honor last night, Julian Bond quickly made it clear that he has become the host, not the star, of the interview program "America's Black Forum." And having made this image distinction, the Georgia state senator quickly backed it up: Even in a party setting, he seemed to prefer the guest role over the star role.
Dressed in television blue, Bond sat on a folding chair in the conference room of the National Urban Coalition, exchanging greetings with old friends, like Clifford Alexander, former secretary of the Army; attorney Timothy Jenkins; and James Farmer, the founder of CORE; and meeting new ones, like Mel Bradley, an adviser to Ronald Reagan. Bond left most of the public speeches to others. "This is Bondzo, not Bonzo," he quipped on the sidelines, referring to President-elect Reagan's former co-star. An unrepentant critic of Jimmy Carter, Bond added seriously, "From the campaign rhetoric, we have got to be frightened. It would not be so bad if it was only Reagan beating Carter, but you have a whole new power in the Senate and House."
As the moderator of "Forum," the only black-owned, black-produced and black-syndicated show on television, Bond eventually will have a chance for an editorial comment. Right now, he is the main questioner, along with two black journalists, of national newsmakers, like Jesse Jackson last Sunday and Hosea Williams this weekend. The weekly "Forum" was started in 1977 by journalist Glen Ford, who used the production facilities of WJLA here and produced the show for its first 59 weeks without commercial sponsors. Bond replaces Ford, who had, according to the show's producer, "an amicable but uneasy departure." But last night Ford looked relieved. "I have sold my stock and put my proceeds into a new magazine. I have no resentment. It's much better to leave something that is continuing," he said.
"Forum," which is seen in 20 markets, is owned by two Washington businessmen, Jack Gloster and Walker Williams, and sponsors have included the Republican National Committee, Westinghouse and AMTRAK. "Julian Bond brings a name and a national reputation," said Gloster. "We want to expand into some key ones, New York and Los Angeles, and Julian's work, his political judgements, his own contacts, make him perfect for us." CAPTION:
Picture, Julian Bond and Clifford Alexander, by Harry Naltchayan