Julian Bond

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Julian Bond
Chairman of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
In office
Preceded by Myrlie Evers-Williams
Succeeded by Roslyn Brock
Member of the Georgia Senate
from the 39th district
In office
Preceded by Horace T. Ward [1]
Succeeded byHildred W. Shumake [2]
Member of the GeorgiaHouseofRepresentatives
from the 32 district
In office
Succeeded byMildred Glover [3]
Personal details
Horace Julian Bond

(1940-01-14)January 14, 1940
Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.
DiedAugust 15, 2015(2015-08-15) (aged 75)
Fort Walton Beach, Florida, U.S.
Political party Democratic
  • Alice Clopton
    (m. 1961;div. 1989)
  • Pamela Sue Horowitz(m. 1990)
Education George School
Alma mater Morehouse College
(BA, English, 1971)

Horace Julian Bond (January 14, 1940 – August 15, 2015) was an American social activist and leader in the Civil Rights Movement, politician, professor and writer. While a student at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, during the early 1960s, he helped to establish the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). Bond was elected to four terms in the Georgia House of Representatives and later to six terms in the Georgia State Senate, serving a combined twenty years in both legislative chambers. From 1998 to 2010, he was chairman of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the first president of the Southern Poverty Law Center. [4]

Morehouse College African American mens college in Atlanta, Georgia, United States

Morehouse College is a private, all-male, liberal arts, historically black college in Atlanta, Georgia. The college is one of the few remaining traditional men's liberal arts colleges in the United States.

Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee organization

The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee was one of the major American Civil Rights Movement organizations of the 1960s. It emerged from the first wave of student sit-ins and formed at a May 1960 meeting organized by Ella Baker at Shaw University. After its involvement in the Voter Education Project, SNCC grew into a large organization with many supporters in the North who helped raise funds to support its work in the South, allowing full-time organizers to have a small salary. Many unpaid grassroots organizers and activists also worked with SNCC on projects in the Deep South, often becoming targets of racial violence and police brutality. SNCC played a seminal role in the freedom rides, the 1963 March on Washington, Mississippi Freedom Summer, the Selma campaigns, the March Against Fear and other historic events. SNCC may be best known for its community organizing, including voter registration, freedom schools, and localized direct action all over the country, but especially in Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi.

Georgia House of Representatives

The Georgia House of Representatives is the lower house of the Georgia General Assembly of the U.S. state of Georgia. There are currently 180 elected members.


Early life and education

Bond was born at Hubbard Hospital in Nashville, Tennessee, to parents Julia Agnes (Washington) and Horace Mann Bond. His father was an educator who went on to serve as the president of Lincoln University. [5] [6] His mother, Julia, was a former librarian at Clark Atlanta University. [7]

Nashville, Tennessee Consolidated city-county in Tennessee, United States

Nashville is the capital and most populous city of the U.S. state of Tennessee. The city is the county seat of Davidson County and is located on the Cumberland River. The city's population ranks 24th in the U.S. According to 2017 estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau, the total consolidated city-county population stood at 691,243. The "balance" population, which excludes semi-independent municipalities within Davidson County, was 667,560 in 2017.

Horace Mann Bond American academic administrator and historian

Horace Mann Bond was an American historian, college administrator, social science researcher and the father of civil-rights leader Julian Bond. He earned a master's and doctorate from University of Chicago, at a time when only a small percentage of any young adults attended any college. He was an influential leader at several historically black colleges and was appointed the first president of Fort Valley State University in Georgia in 1939, where he managed its growth in programs and revenue. In 1945 he became the first African-American president of Lincoln University, Pennsylvania.

Lincoln University (Pennsylvania) university in Pennsylvania

Lincoln University (LU) is public historically black university (HBCU) in Oxford, Pennsylvania. Founded as a private university in 1854, it has been a public institution since 1972 and was the United States' first degree-granting HBCU. Its main campus is located on 422 acres near the town of Oxford in southern Chester County, Pennsylvania. The university has a second location in University City, Philadelphia. Lincoln University provides undergraduate and graduate coursework to approximately 2,000 students. The University is a member-school of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.

The family resided on campus at Fort Valley State College, where Horace was president. The house of the Bonds was a frequent stop for scholars, activists, and celebrities passing through, such as W. E. B. Du Bois and Paul Robeson.

Fort Valley State University

Fort Valley State University (FVSU) is a public historically black university (HBCU) in Fort Valley, Georgia, United States. It is a unit of the University System of Georgia and a member-school of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.

W. E. B. Du Bois American sociologist, historian, activist and writer

William Edward Burghardt Du Bois was an American sociologist, historian, civil rights activist, Pan-Africanist, author, writer and editor. Born in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, Du Bois grew up in a relatively tolerant and integrated community, and after completing graduate work at the University of Berlin and Harvard, where he was the first African American to earn a doctorate, he became a professor of history, sociology and economics at Atlanta University. Du Bois was one of the founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1909.

Paul Robeson American singer and actor

Paul Leroy Robeson was an American bass baritone concert artist and stage and film actor who became famous both for his cultural accomplishments and for his political activism. Educated at Rutgers College and Columbia University, he was also a star athlete in his youth. He also studied Swahili and linguistics at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London in 1934. His political activities began with his involvement with unemployed workers and anti-imperialist students whom he met in Britain and continued with support for the Loyalist cause in the Spanish Civil War and his opposition to fascism. In the United States he also became active in the Civil Rights Movement and other social justice campaigns. His sympathies for the Soviet Union and for communism, and his criticism of the United States government and its foreign policies, caused him to be blacklisted during the McCarthy era.

In 1945, Bond's father accepted the position of president of Lincoln University—becoming its first African-American president—and the family moved North. [8] In 1957, Bond graduated from George School, a private Quaker preparatory boarding school near Newtown in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. [9]

George School is a private Quaker boarding and day high school located on a rural campus near Newtown, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, United States. It was founded at its present site in 1893, and has grown from a single building to over 20 academic, athletic, and residential buildings. Besides the usual college preparatory courses, including an International Baccalaureate program, the school features several distinct programs deriving from its Quaker heritage. These include community service requirements, an emphasis on social justice and environmental concerns, required arts courses, and community-based decision making.

Quakers family of religious movements

Quakers are members of a historically Christian group of religious movements formally known as the Religious Society of Friends, Society of Friends or Friends Church. Members of the various Quaker movements are all generally united in a belief in the ability of each human being to experientially access "the light within", or "that of God in every one".

Newtown, Bucks County, Pennsylvania Borough in Pennsylvania, United States

Newtown is a borough in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, United States. The population was 2,248 at the 2010 census. It is located just west of the Trenton, New Jersey metropolitan area, and is part of the larger Philadelphia metropolitan area. It is entirely surrounded by Newtown Township, from which it separated in 1838. State Street is the main commercial thoroughfare with wide sidewalks, shops, taverns, and restaurants.

Political organizing

On April 17, 1960, Bond helped co-found the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). [10] He served as the communications director of SNCC from January 1961 to September 1966, when he traveled around Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Arkansas, to help organize civil rights and voter registration drives. Bond left Morehouse College in 1961 to work on civil rights in the south. [11] From 1960 to 1963, Bond led student protests against segregation in public facilities and the Jim Crow laws of Georgia. [12]

Georgia (U.S. state) State of the United States of America

Georgia is a state in the Southeastern United States. It began as a British colony in 1733, the last and southernmost of the original Thirteen Colonies to be established. Named after King George II of Great Britain, the Province of Georgia covered the area from South Carolina south to Spanish Florida and west to French Louisiana at the Mississippi River. Georgia was the fourth state to ratify the United States Constitution, on January 2, 1788. In 1802–1804, western Georgia was split to the Mississippi Territory, which later split to form Alabama with part of former West Florida in 1819. Georgia declared its secession from the Union on January 19, 1861, and was one of the original seven Confederate states. It was the last state to be restored to the Union, on July 15, 1870. Georgia is the 24th largest and the 8th most populous of the 50 United States. From 2007 to 2008, 14 of Georgia's counties ranked among the nation's 100 fastest-growing, second only to Texas. Georgia is known as the Peach State and the Empire State of the South. Atlanta, the state's capital and most populous city, has been named a global city.

Alabama State of the United States of America

Alabama is a state in the southeastern region of the United States. It is bordered by Tennessee to the north, Georgia to the east, Florida and the Gulf of Mexico to the south, and Mississippi to the west. Alabama is the 30th largest by area and the 24th-most populous of the U.S. states. With a total of 1,500 miles (2,400 km) of inland waterways, Alabama has among the most of any state.

Mississippi State of the United States of America

Mississippi is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States. Mississippi is the 32nd most extensive and 34th most populous of the 50 United States. It is bordered by Tennessee to the north, Alabama to the east, the Gulf of Mexico and Louisiana to the south, and Arkansas and Louisiana to the west. The state's western boundary is largely defined by the Mississippi River. Jackson, with a population of approximately 175,000 people, is both the state's capital and largest city.

Bond returned in 1971, then aged 31 to complete his Bachelor of Arts in English. [13] With Morris Dees, Bond helped found the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a public-interest law firm based in Montgomery, Alabama. [14] Bond served as its president from 1971 until 1979. [15] Bond was an emeritus member of the Southern Poverty Law Center board of directors at time of his death in 2015. [16] Bond also advocated for Africans in Europe. [17]

A Bachelor of Arts is a bachelor's degree awarded for an undergraduate course or program in either the liberal arts, sciences, or both. Bachelor of Arts programs generally take three to four years depending on the country, institution, and specific specializations, majors, or minors. The word baccalaureus should not be confused with baccalaureatus, which refers to the one- to two-year postgraduate Bachelor of Arts with Honors degree in some countries.

Morris Dees American activist

Morris Seligman Dees Jr. is an American attorney who is the co-founder and chief trial counsel for the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), and a former market engineer for book publishing. Along with his law partner, Joseph J. Levin Jr., Dees founded the SPLC in 1971. Dees and his colleagues at the Southern Poverty Law Center have been "credited with devising innovative ways to cripple hate groups" such as the Ku Klux Klan.

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) is an American nonprofit legal advocacy organization specializing in civil rights and public interest litigation. Based in Montgomery, Alabama, it is known for its successful legal cases against white supremacist groups, its classification of hate groups and other extremist organizations, and for promoting tolerance education programs.


In politics

In 1965, Bond was one of eleven African Americans elected to the Georgia House of Representatives after passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965 had opened voter registration to blacks. By ending the disfranchisement of blacks through discriminatory voter registration, African Americans regained the ability to vote and entered the political process. [18] Although he was initially undecided about his party affiliation, Bond ultimately ran and was elected as a Democrat, the party of President Lyndon B. Johnson, who had signed the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act into law. [19] On January 10, 1966, Georgia state representatives voted 184–12 not to seat him, because he had publicly endorsed SNCC's policy regarding opposition to United States involvement in the Vietnam War. [20] They disliked his stated sympathy for persons who were "unwilling to respond to a military draft". [21] A three-judge panel on the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia ruled in a 2–1 decision that the Georgia House had not violated any of Bond's constitutional rights. In 1966, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled 9–0 in the case of Bond v. Floyd (385 U.S. 116) that the Georgia House of Representatives had denied Bond his freedom of speech and was required to seat him. From 1967 to 1975, Bond was elected to four terms in the Georgia House, where he organized the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus. [22]

In January 1967, Bond was among eleven House members who refused to vote when the legislature elected segregationist Democrat Lester Maddox of Atlanta as governor of Georgia over the Republican Bo Callaway. Callaway had led in the 1966 general election by some three thousand votes. The choice fell on state lawmakers under the Georgia Constitution of 1824, because neither major party candidate had polled a majority in the general election. Former Governor Ellis Arnall polled more than fifty thousand votes as a write-in candidate, a factor which led to the impasse. Bond would not support either Maddox or Callaway, although he was ordered to vote by lame duck Lieutenant Governor Peter Zack Geer. [23]

Throughout his House career, Bond's district was repeatedly redistricted:

During the 1968 presidential election, Bond led an alternate delegation from Georgia to the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, where he became the first African American to have his name entered into nomination as a major-party candidate for Vice President of the United States. The 28-year-old Bond quickly declined the nod, citing the constitutional requirement that one must be at least 35 years of age to serve in that office. [28] [29]

Bond ran for the United States House of Representatives from Georgia's 5th congressional district in 1986. He lost the Democratic nomination in a runoff to rival civil rights leader John Lewis in a bitter contest, [30] during which Bond was accused of using cocaine and other drugs. [31] During the campaign, Lewis challenged Bond to take a drug test (Lewis had said he took one and passed). Bond refused, saying the drug test was akin to McCarthyism and trivializes the issue of drugs. [32] While Bond had raised twice as much money as Lewis and had a larger national reputation, Lewis cast himself as the man on the front lines of the Civil Rights Movement and ran up large margins over Bond among white liberals in Atlanta. [33] As the district had a huge Democratic majority, the nomination delivered the seat to Lewis, who still serves in Congress. Still dogged by allegations of drug use, Bond resigned from the Georgia Senate the following year. [34] [35] Bond's estranged wife, Alice, who publicly accused him of using cocaine, later retracted her statements. [29]

After leaving politics, Bond taught at several universities in major cities in the North and South, including American, [36] Drexel, [37] and Harvard. [38] Bond taught the history of the civil rights movement at the University of Virginia from 1990 to 2012. While there he had the chance to share his experiences of the movement with thousands of students through stories, newsreels, music, and film. [39] Bond was on the Board of Selectors of Jefferson Awards for Public Service. [40]

In activism

Bond became the first president of the Southern Poverty Law Center [41] in 1971. He served until 1979, remaining a board member and president emeritus for the rest of his life. [42] In 1998, Bond was selected as chairman of the NAACP. Bond once referred to leading the NAACP as "the most powerful job a Black man can have in America." [43] In November 2008, he announced that he would not seek another term as chairman. [44] Bond agreed to stay on in the position through 2009, as the organization celebrated its 100th anniversary. Roslyn M. Brock was chosen as Bond's successor on February 20, 2010. [45]

Julian Bond and Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton at a rally opposing a ballot initiative aimed at prohibiting same-sex marriage in that state in June 2012. 2012-0619-Bond-Dayton.jpg
Julian Bond and Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton at a rally opposing a ballot initiative aimed at prohibiting same-sex marriage in that state in June 2012.

Bond was an outspoken supporter of the rights of gays and lesbians. He publicly stated his support for same-sex marriage. Most notably, he boycotted the funeral services for Coretta Scott King on the grounds that the King children had chosen an anti-gay megachurch as the venue. This was in conflict with their mother's longstanding support for the rights of gay and lesbian people. [46] In a 2005 speech in Richmond, Virginia, Bond stated:

African Americans ... were the only Americans who were enslaved for two centuries, but we were far from the only Americans suffering discrimination then and now ... Sexual disposition parallels race. I was born this way. I have no choice. I wouldn't change it if I could. Sexuality is unchangeable. [47]

In a 2007 speech on the Martin Luther King Day Celebration at Clayton State University in Morrow, Georgia, Bond said, "If you don't like gay marriage, don't get gay married." His positions pitted elements of the NAACP against religious groups in the Civil Rights Movement who oppose gay marriage. Most resistance came from within the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), which was partially blamed for the success of the gay marriage ban amendment in California. [48] On October 11, 2009, Bond appeared at the National Equality March in Washington, D.C., and spoke about the rights of the LGBT community, a speech which was aired live on C-SPAN. [49] [50] Bond was a strong critic of policies that contribute to anthropogenic climate change and was amongst a group of protesters arrested at the White House for civil disobedience in opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline in February 2013. [51]

Other political views

(L-R) Bond with John Lewis, US Representative from Georgia, at the Civil Rights Summit at the LBJ Presidential Library in 2014 DIG13615-183.jpg
(L-R) Bond with John Lewis, US Representative from Georgia, at the Civil Rights Summit at the LBJ Presidential Library in 2014

Bond was a strong critic of the Bush administration from its assumption of office in 2001, in large part because Bond believed the administration was illegitimate. Twice that year, first in February to the NAACP board and then in July at that organization's national convention, he attacked the administration for selecting Cabinet secretaries "from the Taliban wing of American politics". Bond specifically targeted Attorney General John Ashcroft, who had opposed affirmative action, and Interior Secretary Gale Norton, who defended the Confederacy in a 1996 speech on states' rights. In the selection of these individuals, Bond said, Bush had appeased "the wretched appetites of the extreme right wing and chosen Cabinet officials whose devotion to the Confederacy is nearly canine in its uncritical affection". The then House Majority Leader Dick Armey responded to Bond's statement with a letter accusing NAACP leaders of "racial McCarthyism". [52] Bond later added at the annual NAACP convention that year, that since Bush's election he had "had his picture taken with more black people than voted for him." [52]

On May 14, 2013, while appearing on MSNBC, Bond called the Tea Party the "Taliban wing of American politics". [53] Bond told MSNBC, "I think it's entirely legitimate to look at the Tea Party." But he also said, "It was wrong for the IRS to behave in this heavy-handed manner. They didn't explain it well before or now what they're doing and why they're doing it." He called Tea Party members "a group of people who are admittedly racist, who are overtly political, who've tried as best as they can to harm President Obama in every way they can". He added, "We all ought to be a little worried about them." [53]

Work and appearances in media

Julian Bond during the filming of Julian Bond: Reflections from the Frontlines of the Civil Rights Movement Julianbondmovie.jpg
Julian Bond during the filming of Julian Bond: Reflections from the Frontlines of the Civil Rights Movement

In 2012, Bond was centrally featured in Julian Bond: Reflections from the Frontlines of the Civil Rights Movement , a documentary film by Eduardo Montes-Bradley. [54] [55] From 1980 to 1997, Bond hosted America's Black Forum. [29] He was also a commentator for radio's Byline and NBC's The Today Show . [56] He authored the nationally syndicated newspaper column Viewpoint, [36] and narrated the critically acclaimed PBS series Eyes on the Prize in 1987 and 1990. [57]

Bond hosted Saturday Night Live on April 9, 1977, becoming the first black political figure to host the television show. In the same year, he also appeared in the Richard Pryor vehicle Greased Lightning . In 1978, Bond played himself in the miniseries King . [58] He also had a small appearance playing himself in the movie Ray (2004). [59] In addition to another small appearance in which he played himself in the movie 5-7 (2014).

Personal life and death

On July 28, 1961, Bond married Alice Clopton, a student at Spelman College; they divorced on November 10, 1989. They had five children: Phyllis Jane Bond-McMillan, Horace Mann Bond II, Michael Julian Bond (an Atlanta City Councilman), Jeffrey Alvin Bond and Julia Louise Bond. He married Pamela Sue Horowitz, a former SPLC staff attorney, in 1990. [60] Bond died from complications of vascular disease on August 15, 2015, in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, aged 75. He is survived by his wife, his five children, James (a brother), Jane Bond Moore (a sister) and eight grandchildren. [42]

Awards and honors

Among 25 honorary degrees, he was awarded: [63]


See also

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