Entries

Contemporary Black Biography Contemporary Black BiographyEncyclopedia of World BiographyUXL Encyclopedia of World Biography Further reading

NON JS

Bond, Julian 1940–

Julian Bond 1940

Civil rights activist, politician

At a Glance

Became Increasingly Conscious of Race

From Racial Consciousness to Political Activism

Cofounded the SNCC

Denied Legislative Seat

Nominated for the Vice-Presidency

Scandal in the 1980s

Rebounded from Scandal

Selected writings

Sources

In 1940 Dr. Horace Mann Bond was president of Fort Valley State College, a black institution in central Georgia, and his wife, Julia, was pregnant with their second child. As a native of the South, Julia was used to racial disparity, but she was unwilling to give birth in the primitive hospitals of the highly segregated rural Georgia. To avoid this, she traveled all the way to Nashville, Tennessee, to have her child. Two decades later this son, Julian Bond, became a major force in the fight to end the same segregation that sent his mother to Nashville.

According to Keith Thomas of the Atlanta Constitution, Julian Bond has been to hell and back. Throughout his successful career and personal and political adversity, Bond has been labeled everything from a national hero to a national traitor. A cofounder of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), he was thrust into the national spotlight when the Georgia legislature denied him a seat on the basis of his antiwar stance and again when he became the first black American nominated for the vice-presidency of the United States. He has faced violent segregationists and his own political failures and scandals. In spite of everything, he has kept his head above water and has remained an influential voice in politics, education, and the media.

Bond spent most of his childhood in Pennsylvania where his father, an eminent scholar, was president of Lincoln University. Growing up in the isolated world of academia and of a black university, he was fairly sheltered, and as George R. Metcalf quoted him in Up From Within: Todays New Black Leaders, he never really lived the life of a Southern Negro kid. Nonetheless, the youngster certainly was not unaffected by racism. Many of the white faculty members at Lincoln University resented having a black president, and their animosity heightened when Dr. Bond became instrumental in challenging the segregation of restaurants and theaters in nearby Oxford, Pennsylvania, and of the county school system. With their children as plaintiffs, Dr. Bond and several other faculty members successfully integrated the schools, which Julian attended for three years; Dr. Bond took his integration efforts a step further when he participated in preparing the brief in the landmark Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education, which mandated the desegregation of public schools. The elder Bonds efforts made him quite a

At a Glance

Born Horace Julian Bond, January 14, 1940, in Nashville, TN; son of Horace Mann (a college professor and administrator) and Julia Washington (a librarian) Bond; married Alice Cloplon, July 28, 1961 Idivorced, November 10, 1989); married Pamela S. Horowitz (an attorney), March 17, 1990; children: (first marriage) Phyllis Jane, Horace Mann, Michael, Jeffrey, Julia. Education: Received degree from Morehouse College, 1971. Politics: Democrat.

Career: Cofounder of the Committee on Appeal for Human Rights (COHAR), and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), 1960; Atlanta Inquirer, Atlanta, GA, began as reporter and feature writer, became managing editor; communications director of SNNC, 1961-66; member of Georgia House of Representatives, 1966-75; president of Atlanta branch of National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), 1974-89; member of Georgia Senate, 1975-87; host of television program Americas Black Forum; narrator of PBS television special Eyes on the Prize; visiting professor at Drexel University, 1988-89, Harvard University, 1989, and American University, 1991; NAACP, bd of directors, chair, 1998-; lecturer; writer.

Memberships: NAACP (national board member), Highlander Research and Education Center, Southern Correspondents Reporting Racial Equality Wars, Delta Ministry Project of the National Council of Churches, Southern Regional Council, New Democratic Coalition.

Awards: Honorary degrees from numerous universities, including Dalhousie University, University of Oregon, Syracuse University, Tuskegee Institute, Howard University, and Lincoln University; honorary trustee of the Institute of Applied Politics.

Addresses: 6002 34th Place NW, Washington, DC 20015.

few enemies, and according to Roger M. Williams in The Bonds: An American Family, his children felt much of this hostility.

When Julian Bond reached high school age, his parents sent him to the George School, a Quaker boarding school in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Although he was the only black student at the school, issues of race rarely concerned him. The people who say I showed no racial consciousness are probably right, Bond related to Williams. The occasion to be a race champion just didnt arise. And if it had, I dont know that I would have risen with it. When he managed to integrate the Newtown movie theater, Bond did it simply because he didnt feel like sitting in the balcony. They kept offering me a ticket for the balcony, he told Williams. Thats where the Negroes sat, and I dont think it even occurred to them that a Negro might want to sit elsewhere. I kept telling them I wanted to sit downstairs, and they finally said, okay, heres your ticket.

Became Increasingly Conscious of Race

Writers often point to an incident at the George School as Bonds first major run-in with racism. One weekend he donned his school jacket and escorted his white girlfriend to Philadelphia. To his surprise, the next day he was scolded by the dean, who told him he should not have worn the jacket. In the years since the occurrence the school has claimed that its policy did not permit any student to wear their school warm-up jackets to places such as Philadelphia. According to John Neary of Life, however, Bond was outraged, believing he had been reprimanded for dating a white girl. That was just like somebody stopping you and slapping you across the face.

At this point in his life, it appeared that Bond was not going to follow his father into political activism, or academia either. His parents had hoped in particular that Julian would become a scholar. In fact, when Julian was only three years old, his father and African-American scholar W.E.B. DuBois, with a bottle of champagne and a tongue-in-cheek ceremony, decreed that the child would follow in their prominent footsteps. Julian, however, had different ideas. Williams noted that although he proved to be extremely intelligent, he was very selective about the projects toward which he would direct his efforts. His grades at the George School were mediocre, and he graduated in the bottom quarter of the class.

Bonds apparent lack of motivation, however, did not deter him from attending college, and he decided to follow the family legacy and go to Morehouse College. He was extremely nervous about moving to the South, since, like many Americans, he thought that race problems did not really exist in the North and that violence against blacks was rampant in the South. Fortunately he found the situation in the South less horrifying than he expected. Living in the predominantly black West End of Atlanta where Atlanta University, Morehouse, Spelman, and other black colleges were located, Bond rarely had the desire or the need to venture downtown.

From Racial Consciousness to Political Activism

As a student at Morehouse, Bonds lack of academic verve changed little, but according to Williams, qualities that would prove crucial in his future work became apparent, including his gift for expression, his physical bearing and presence, [and] his determination to be his own man. Bonds eloquence was evident in the poetry he began to write. Published in six anthologies while he was still a student, Bonds poems show that although he had yet to become a political activist, he was increasingly conscious of racial inequality. To move from consciousness to activism, however, Bond needed a bit of a push.

The incentive to protest came in February of 1960 in the form of Lonnie King, a Morehouse student who confronted Bond at a local drugstore with a copy of the Atlanta Daily World. The paper contained an article about college students in Greensboro, North Carolina, staging a sit-in at a local white-only lunch counter. In Nearys account of the story King asked Bond, Dont you think thats great? Dont you think something like that ought to happen here? When Bond replied Im sure it will, King countered with Dont you think that we ought to make it happen. Bonds response was Why me? but he nevertheless took one side of the drugstore and began convincing students to attend a meeting that afternoon during which the Atlanta Committee on Appeal for Human Rights (COHAR) was born.

COHARs first order of business was staging sit-ins at white-only public eating establishments. On March 15, 1960, Bond led a group of students to the Atlanta City Hall cafeteria, and it was the first and last time that he was arrested. It was also one of the few times that Bond took physical action in the civil rights movement. According to Williams, He had no stomach for bravado. But he was a leader of the student group, and leadership at that juncture meant physical action, so Bond went through with it. Perhaps he proved something to himself. If so, he proved it so well that he has not felt compelled to prove it againnot in so direct a fashion, at any rate. Shortly after this incident, Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) invited Bond and other student leaders from black colleges to Shaw University in North Carolina to work together on civil rights. It was here that these students formed the SNCC, with James Forman as the director.

Cofounded the SNCC

Back in Atlanta, Bond found little time for his scholastic work. He was deeply involved with COHAR, which was becoming one of the wealthiest and best organized student groups. Bond later told Neary, We had nearly $6, 000 in the bank, and we had almost 4000 people picketing in downtown Atlanta, a masterpiece of precision. The group made moves to integrate the lunch counter at Richs, the largest department store in the Southeast; the attempt took eighteen months but was eventually successful. A further strain on Bonds time was his work with the Atlanta Inquirer, a black newspaper that he and several other students had started. Bond began as a writer and eventually became managing editor. Furthermore, he was also involved with Alice Clopton, a student at Spelman College. All of these strains on his time proved to be too much, and in 1961, halfway through his senior year, Bond dropped out of college and married Clopton, who according to Life, hated politics and thought she was marrying a writer.

During this time, COHAR was absorbed by the SNCC, and James Foreman offered Bond a position as director of communications. In this role, Bond worked with his brother Jim on the SNCCs public relations. He told Neary in Life, I felt like a whore, or a pimpfeeding tapes to radio stations, handouts to reporters, tearing around the South in Snicks distinctive whip-antennaed Plymouth Savoys. SNCC had twenty projects in Mississippi and Id hit them all in the course of a week and then go into Arkansas, Louisiana, Tennessee and Georgia, he recalled to Metcalf. Surprisingly, he was never assaulted or arrested, but he occasionally found himself in very dangerous situations, including a confrontation with the Alabama Bureau of Investigation.

Beginning in 1964 many members of the SNCC became increasingly disillusioned with the organizations policy of nonviolence and with white participation in the movement. At the same time, Bond began to wonder where the SNCC was taking him, and according to Metcalf, he was worried about the troubles that would follow more militant action. With two children and a third on the way, Bond was concerned with the safety of his family. It was not a matter of becoming disenchanted with civil rights, he expressed to Metcalf, but of giving the children some of the advantages I had as a child. At the same time Bond was considering his career options, the Georgia legislature reapportioned the state, and Bond decided to run for one of the newly created Atlanta seats.

Denied Legislative Seat

Winning the election in 1964 seemed fairly easy for Bond. His campaign focused on such local issues as unemployment, housing, and the minimum wage, and he won 82 percent of the vote. Assuming his place in the legislature proved to be much more difficult. In January of 1966, the SNCC released a statement condemning U.S. Involvement in the Vietnam War. Bond publicly endorsed the statement and added his admiration of those who had the courage to resist the draft by burning their draft cards. The Georgia legislatures response was to refuse to seat him; when Bond came to take the oath of office, the assemblys clerk had five petitions accusing him of treason and of giving aid and comfort to the enemies of the United States and the enemies of Georgia, according to Metcalf. The conflict was not only one of allegiance: racism certainly lurked in the background. Representative Arthur J. Funk, for example, responded, I dont care if hes innocent of making these remarks. All those people tend to think that way, and every day hes on this floor is a disgrace.

The pressure on Bond to rescind his statements grew, but he refused to back down from what he believed. On January 10, 1966, he sat calmly as the Georgia house voted 184-12 against seating him on the charge of disorderly conduct. Bond became a media star as national leaders and the press ardently defended his right to take his seat in the legislature. Bond and his lawyers immediately took his case to federal district court, which ruled on January 31st to uphold the legislatures decision. The next step was the U.S. Supreme Court, and on December 5, 1966, it was unanimously ruled that the Georgia house had violated Bonds right of free expression under the First Amendment. As quoted by Metcalf, Chief Justice Earl Warren wrote that the requirement of an oath of office did not authorize a majority of state legislators to test the sincerity with which another duly elected legislator can swear to uphold the constitution. Certainly there can be no question but that the First Amendment protects expression in opposition to national foreign policy in Vietnam. It was the first time the high court had restricted a state governments power to evaluate the qualifications of its members.

In the time since the Georgia house had voted not to seat him, Bond ran in two elections for the vacant seats and won both times. After finally taking his seat, life in the assembly was not all that easy for him. To some extent he was treated as an outcast, and according to the Washington Post, for the first five years he would not speak on the house floor. Even if he hadnt been banned, he may not have been an influential legislator given the conservative bent of the Georgia house. Neary quoted lawyer Charles Morgan, who quipped that in the legislature at the time, [former German chancellor Adolf] Hitler would be a middle-of-the-roader. The future of Bonds tenure for the first few years looked hazy, prompting Williams to depict him as sitting in a political limbo.

This changed in 1968 when Bond was once again thrust into the national spotlight. That year the governor of Georgia, Lester Maddox, named only six black delegates of 107 to the Democratic National Convention, even though the national party had instructed that the delegations must be representative of the state constituency. The Georgia Democratic Party Forum, of which Bond was a member, decided to challenge the official delegation. Bond became a cochair of a rival delegation, and after several days of wrangling at the convention, Bonds delegation won almost half of Georgias delegate votes. Again Bond was a star, and at one point the convention hall was rocked with chants of Julian Bond, Julian Bond! In The Bonds, Williams quoted a supporter who said: Julian was increasingly becoming the glamour boy of the delegation. Hell, in some ways he became the challenge, period.

Nominated for the Vice-Presidency

Bonds star rose even higher when he became the Democratic Partys first black candidate for the U.S. Vice-presidency. After a few states voted, though, Bond took his name out of the running; at 28, he was seven years too young for the job. Asked later if he would ever run for high office again, he answered, Ive already been cut out of the Vice-Presidency. If I cant have that, I dont want anything, as quoted by Reese Cleghorn in the New York Times Magazine.

Although Bond joked about his position, Cleghorn wrote in 1968 that many people see Bond as one of the rallying figures in a rebuilding of the Democratic party, to bring it out of the shadow of the New Deal [President Franklin D. Roosevelts 1930s program for economic recovery] and make it conform with the new forces emerging in the country. Cleghorn also quoted John Lewis, former chair of the SNCC, who said, With the loss of Martin [Luther] King [Jr.] and Senator [Robert F] Kennedy, I think Julian has real potential to emerge as the symbol that can bring together certain elements within the old civil-rights movement, what we call the peace movement, and the New Politics, and to create a viable political force.

Bond remained popular through the end of the 1960s. He was a coveted speaker, receiving fees of up to $2000 per speech in 1971, and a 1970 poll showed he was the first choice of black Americans for president. Life in the Georgia house of representatives, however, was still difficult, and according to Williams, Bonds chances for election to a statewide office were slim. As the 1970s got underway, Bond started to fade from public attention. He limited his focus to helping the predominantly poor residents of his district, concentrating on such issues as street paving and garbage collection. He was criticized for not involving himself in many other causes, especially those facing black Atlanta, and it seemed apparent that he was not entirely interested in politics. Nonetheless, in 1974 he successfully ran for a seat in the Georgia senate and held the position until 1987.

In 1976 Bond was asked to join President Jimmy Carters administration when it went to Washington, but he refused and found himself outside the power block. Jacqueline Trescotts 1979 Washington Post article characterized him as a political outsider, plagued by the question, What has Julian done lately?Bond tried to become the director of the NAACP but was considered too radical for the job. Hoping benefit from some media exposure, he even appeared on the television program Saturday Night Live and in a Richard Pryor movie. He continued to express his views, writing and giving speeches, but his popularity was on the wane. In 1977, according to Thomas in the Atlanta Constitution, a colleague in the Georgia house described him as the most ineffective legislator in the state. Thomas also quoted a friend of Bond who noted, I dont think anyone who knows him questions his sense of commitment. I also think there has always been a kind of lack of ambition there. According to Thomas, Some friends and associates admit Mr. Bond can sometimes come across as a bit too brash, brainy, and introspective.

Scandal in the 1980s

In the 1980s Bond lost even more ground, narrowly surviving a challenge to his Senate seat. Thomas wrote that Bonds opponent charged him with inaccessibility, absenteeism, and inattention to local concerns. Bonds family also suffered from his preoccupied behavior. In 1983 Stephanie Oliver noted in Essence that at one time, his youngest daughter thought he lived in the airport. Having to take second place to politics had led his wife to consider leaving him, but she remained hopeful: There have been good spaces, she acknowledged to Oliver. Hes tried to be there. And hes done a lot more with us in the past five or ten years than he did in the first few. The challenges to Bonds personal and political life eventually proved to be too burdensome. In 1986 he gave up his state Senate seat to run for U.S. Congress, but lost the Democratic primary to his longtime friend and SNCC colleague, John Lewis. His marriage also fell apart, and in 1987 his wife accused him of using cocaine. She publicly recanted her statement, but the fact that his alleged girlfriend at the time received a 22-year sentence on drug charges did little to help his reputation. In 1989 the couple divorced, and the next day Bond was named in a paternity suit. Though he denied the charges at first, in May of 1990 he admitted to fathering the child and was ordered to pay child support.

Bond managed to survive the difficult late-1980s. Throughout this period he continued to write and speak, narrated both parts of Eyes on the Prize, the highly acclaimed Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) documentary on the civil rights movement, hosted the television program Americas Black Forum, wrote a nationally syndicated newspaper column titled Viewpoint, and contributed numerous articles to newspapers and magazines. In addition, since 1988 he has been a visiting professor at Drexel University, Harvard University, the University of Virginia, and American University. As a lecturer, Bond remained in great demand.

Rebounded from Scandal

Several years after the divorce that ended his twenty-five marriage to his first wife and coincided with his secession from public life, Bond began a new life with his marriage in 1990 to attorney Pamela Sue Horowitz. They made their home in Washington, D.C., where Bond soon adopted a busy schedule. After completing a stint as a visiting professor in the Department of Afro-American Studies at Harvard University in 1989, Bond continued his academic career, joining the history department at the University of Virginia in 1990. The following year he became a distinguished scholar in residence at American University. His course titles include, An Oral History of the 1960s, History of the Civil Rights Movement, and Politics of the Civil Rights Movement.

Bond also became increasingly involved with the media, becoming a frequent commentator on television and radio. He also continued to host the countrys oldest African-American owned syndicated television show Americas Black Forum, a position he took on in 1980. In 1994 he narrated the Academy-Award winning documentary, A Time For Justice. Throughout the 1990s he remained a sought-after speaker and lectured throughout the United States.

Bond returned to the political forum in 1998 when he was elected chair of the NAACP board of directors. In accepting this role Bond took on a $50 million fund-raising campaign and the commitment to revitalize the 93 year-old organizations 500, 000 membership. He told People Weekly, I want to reenergize all these people to put political pressure on elected officialsto make it a powerful voting bloc for supporters of civil rights. Bond also planned to reach out to other minority groups. Colored people come in all colors. We want to reach out to emerging Americans, Hispanics, Latinos, Native Americans, Asians and White Americans, he was quoted as saying by Jet. Bond also chairs the NAACPs magazine Crisis.

Bond acknowledged the need for an effective NAACP when he told People Weekly, Over the last decade, I think racial relations have stagnated or gotten worse. He elaborated to Time, [The problem the NAACP faces is] still white supremacy. It still means so much to those who practice it. It defines who they are. It makes them feel that they are better than others. It ensures them positions in employment and college admissions they otherwise might not have. It still puts a lid on the dreams of black people, though to a lesser extent than in the past because of the Civil Rights movement. Along with NAACP President Kweisi Mfume, Bond hopes to help change this. He told The Progressive, Were going to do the old things better. I dont think there are new ways [to create social change]. There are only so many ways, and they are organization, mobilization, litigation, coalition. Not new. One of the first initiatives undertaken by the NAACP under Bonds tutelage was negations with the television industry. These resulted in agreements made in 2000 with the ABC and NBC television networks to include more people of color in their programming and behind the scenes in technical, executive, and creative positions.

Bond has also put his credentials to use in other matters relating to Civil Rights. In July of 2000 Bond joined other Civil Rights leaders in asking the United Nations to monitor the U.S. Criminal justice system for human rights violations stemming from racial discrimination and racial bias. The following year Bond joined a council on diversity sponsored by Ford Motor Company. The purpose of the group is to advise Fords European car division on diversity issues, including marketing and advertising, human resources, and dealership development.

A 1990 Atlanta Constitution article in which Bond said, If people remember me, I hope its not for what Ive already done, but what Im still going to do. And what that is, I have no idea. But I expect to be going a lot longer. Fortunately for the NAACP and people of all colors in the United States, that prediction proved to be true.

Selected writings

A Time to Speak, A Time to Act: The Movement in Politics, Simon & Schuster, 1972.

(Consultant-Reviewer) The Civil Rights Movement, Globe Fearon, 1997.

(Co-Editor) Lift Every Voice and Sing: A Celebration of the Negro National Anthem, Random House, 2000.

Contributor of poems to anthologies, including Black Literature in America, American Negro Poetry, New Negro Poets: USA, and Beyond the Blues. Contributor of numerous articles to periodicals.

Sources

Books

Metcalf, George R., Up From Within: Todays New Black Leaders, McGraw-Hill, 1971.

Neary, John, Julian Bond: Black Rebel, Morrow, 1971.

Raines, Howell, My Soul Is Rested: The Story of the Civil Rights Movement in the Deep South, Penguin Books, 1977.

Williams, Roger M., The Bonds: An American Family, Atheneum, 1971.

Periodicals

Atlanta Constitution, January 15, 1990; June 15, 1990.

Automotive News, May 6, 2002.

Essence, November 1983.

Hollywood Reporter, March 3, 2001, pll.

Jet, March 9, 1998.

Life, November 8, 1968; December 13, 1968.

New Republic, November 24, 1986.

New York Times, December 28, 1988.

New York Times Magazine, October 20, 1968.

Newsweek, September 15, 1986; April 27, 1987; June 1, 1987.

People Weekly, June 8, 1998.

PR Newswire, February 1, 2000; July 22, 2000.

The Progressive, August 1998.

Time, August 4, 1986; March 26, 1990; July 27, 1998.

Washington Post, May 25, 1979.

Megan Rubiner and Candace LaBalle

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

Rubiner, Megan; LaBalle, Candace. "Bond, Julian 1940–." Contemporary Black Biography. 2003. Encyclopedia.com. 27 Sep. 2016 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

Rubiner, Megan; LaBalle, Candace. "Bond, Julian 1940–." Contemporary Black Biography. 2003. Encyclopedia.com. (September 27, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-2873700013.html

Rubiner, Megan; LaBalle, Candace. "Bond, Julian 1940–." Contemporary Black Biography. 2003. Retrieved September 27, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-2873700013.html

Bond, Julian 1940–

Julian Bond 1940

Civil rights activist, politician

At a Glance

Became Increasingly Conscious of Race

From Racial Consciousness to Political Activism

Cofounded the SNCC

Denied Legislative Seat

Nominated for the Vice-Presidency

Scandal in the 1980s

Selected writings

Sources

In 1940 Dr. Horace Mann Bond was president of Fort Valley State College, a black institution in central Georgia, and his wife Julia was pregnant with their second child. As a native of the South, Julia was used to racial disparity, but she was unwilling to give birth in the primitive hospitals of the highly segregated rural Georgia. To avoid this, she traveled all the way to Nashville, Tennessee, to have her child. Two decades later this son, Julian Bond, became a major force in the fight to end the same segregation that sent his mother to Nashville.

According to Keith Thomas of the Atlanta Constitution, Julian Bond has been to hell and back. Throughout his successful career and personal and political adversity, Bond has been labeled everything from a national hero to a national traitor. A cofounder of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), he was thrust into the national spotlight when the Georgia legislature denied him a seat on the basis of his antiwar stance and again when he became the first black American nominated for the vice-presidency of the United States. He has faced violent segregationists and his own political failures and scandals. In spite of everything, he has kept his head above water and has remained an influential voice in politics, education, and the media.

Bond spent most of his childhood in Pennsylvania where his father, an eminent scholar, was president of Lincoln University. Growing up in the isolated world of academia and of a black university, he was fairly sheltered, and as George R. Metcalf quoted him in Up From Within: Todays New Black Leaders, he never really lived the life of a Southern Negro kid. Nonetheless, the youngster certainly was not unaffected by racism. Many of the white faculty members at Lincoln University resented having a black president, and their animosity heightened when Dr. Bond became instrumental in challenging the segregation of restaurants and theaters in nearby Oxford, Pennsylvania, and of the county school system. With their children as plaintiffs, Dr. Bond and several other faculty members successfully integrated the schools, which Julian attended for three years; Dr. Bond took his integration efforts a step further when he participated in preparing the brief in the landmark Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education, which mandated the desegregation of public schools. The elder Bonds efforts made him quite a few enemies, and according to Roger

At a Glance

Born Horace Julian Bond, January 14, 1940, in Nashville, TN; son of Horace Mann (a college professor and administrator) and Julia Washington (a librarian) Bond; married Alice Clopton, July 28, 1961 (divorced, November 10, 1989); married Pamela S. Horowitz (an attorney), March 17,1990; children: (first marriage) Phyllis Jane, Horace Mann, Michael, Jeffrey, Julia. Education: Received degree from Morehouse College, 1971. Politics: Democrat.

Cofounder of the Committee on Appeal for Human Rights (COHAR), and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), 1960; Atlanta Inquirer, Atlanta, GA, began as reporter and feature writer, became managing editor; communications director of SNCC, 1961-66; member of Georgia House of Representatives, 1966-75; president of Atlanta branch of National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), 1974-89; member of Georgia Senate, 1975-87. Host of television program Americas Black Forum; narrator of PBS television special Eyes on the Prize; visiting professor at Drexel University, 1988-89, Harvard University, 1989, and American University, 1991; lecturer; writer.

Member: NAACP (national board member), Highlander Research and Education Center, Southern Correspondents Reporting Racial Equality Wars, Delta Ministry Project of the National Council of Churches, Southern Regional Council, New Democratic Coalition.

Awards: Honorary degrees from numerous universities, including Dalhousie University, University of Oregon, Syracuse University, Tuskegee Institute, Howard University, and Lincoln University; honorary trustee of the Institute of Applied Politics.

Addresses: Office 6002 34th Place NW, Washington, DC 20015.

M. Williams in The Bonds: An American Family, his children felt much of this hostility.

When Julian Bond reached high school age, his parents sent him to the George School, a Quaker boarding school in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Although he was the only black student at the school, issues of race rarely concerned him. The people who say I showed no racial consciousness are probably right, Bond related to Williams. The occasion to be a race champion just didnt arise. And if it had, I dont know that I would have risen with it. When he managed to integrate the Newtown movie theater, Bond did it simply because he didnt feel like sitting in the balcony. They kept offering me a ticket for the balcony, he told Williams. Thats where the Negroes sat, and I dont think it even occurred to them that a Negro might want to sit elsewhere. I kept telling them I wanted to sit downstairs, and they finally said, okay, heres your ticket.

Became Increasingly Conscious of Race

Writers often point to an incident at the George School as Bonds first major run-in with racism. One weekend he donned his school jacket and escorted his white girlfriend to Philadelphia. To his surprise, the next day he was scolded by the dean, who told him he should not have worn the jacket. In the years since the occurrence the school has claimed that its policy did not permit any student to wear their school warm-up jackets to places such as Philadelphia. According to John Neary of Life, however, Bond was outraged, believing he had been reprimanded for dating a white girl. That was just like somebody stopping you and slapping you across the face.

At this point in his life, it appeared that Bond was not going to follow his father into political activism, or academia either. His parents had hoped in particular that Julian would become a scholar. In fact, when Julian was only three years old, his father and African-American scholar W. E. B. Du Bois, with a bottle of champagne and a tongue-in-cheek ceremony, decreed that the child would follow in their prominent footsteps. Julian, however, had different ideas. Williams noted that although he proved to be extremely intelligent, he was very selective about the projects toward which he would direct his efforts. His grades at the George School were mediocre, and he graduated in the bottom quarter of the class.

Bonds apparent lack of motivation, however, did not deter him from attending college, and he decided to follow the family legacy and go to Morehouse College. He was extremely nervous about moving to the South, since, like many Americans, he thought that race problems did not really exist in the North and that violence against blacks was rampant in the South. Fortunately he found the situation in the South less horrifying than he expected. Living in the predominantly black West End of Atlanta where Atlanta University, Morehouse, Spelman, and other black colleges were located, Bond rarely had the desire or the need to venture downtown.

From Racial Consciousness to Political Activism

As a student at Morehouse, Bonds lack of academic verve changed little, but according to Williams, qualities that would prove crucial in his future work became apparent, including his gift for expression, his physical bearing and presence, [and] his determination to be his own man. Bonds eloquence was evident in the poetry he began to write. Published in six anthologies while he was still a student, Bonds poems show that although he had yet to become a political activist, he was increasingly conscious of racial inequality. To move from consciousness to activism, however, Bond needed a bit of a push.

The incentive to protest came in February of 1960 in the form of Lonnie King, a Morehouse student who confronted Bond at a local drugstore with a copy of the Atlanta Daily World. The paper contained an article about college students in Greensboro, North Carolina, staging a sit-in at a local white-only lunch counter. In Nearys account of the story King asked Bond, Dont you think thats great? Dont you think something like that ought to happen here? When Bond replied Im sure it will, King countered with Dont you think that we ought to make it happen? Bonds response was Why me? but he nevertheless took one side of the drugstore and began convincing students to attend a meeting that afternoon during which the Atlanta Committee on Appeal for Human Rights (COHAR) was born.

COHARs first order of business was staging sit-ins at white-only public eating establishments. On March 15, 1960, Bond led a group of students to the Atlanta City Hall cafeteria, and it was the first and last time that he was arrested. It was also one of the few times that Bond took physical action in the civil rights movement. According to Williams, He had no stomach for bravado. But he was a leader of the student group, and leadership at that juncture meant physical action, so Bond went through with it. Perhaps he proved something to himself. If so, he proved it so well that he has not felt compelled to prove it againnot in so direct a fashion, at any rate. Shortly after this incident, Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) invited Bond and other student leaders from black colleges to Shaw University in North Carolina to work together on civil rights. It was here that these students formed the SNCC, with James Forman as the director.

Cofounded the SNCC

Back in Atlanta, Bond found little time for his scholastic work. He was deeply involved with COHAR, which was becoming one of the wealthiest and best organized student groups. Bond later told Neary, We had nearly $6,000 in the bank, and we had almost 4000 people picketing in downtown Atlanta, a masterpiece of precision. The group made moves to integrate the lunch counter at Richs, the largest department store in the Southeast; the attempt took eighteen months but was eventually successful. A further strain on Bonds time was his work with the Atlanta Inquirer, a black newspaper that he and several other students had started. Bond began as a writer and eventually became managing editor. Furthermore, he was also involved with Alice Clopton, a student at Spelman College. All of these strains on his time proved to be too much, and in 1961, halfway through his senior year, Bond dropped out of college and married Clopton, who according to Life, hated politics and thought she was marrying a writer.

During this time, COHAR was absorbed by the SNCC, and James Forman offered Bond a position as director of communications. In this role, Bond worked with his brother Jim on the SNCCs public relations. He told Neary in Life, I felt like a whore, or a pimpfeeding tapes to radio stations, handouts to reporters, tearing around the South in Snicks distinctive whip-antennaed Plymouth Savoys. SNCC had twenty projects in Mississippi and Id hit them all in the course of a week and then go into Arkansas, Louisiana, Tennessee and Georgia, he recalled to Metcalf. Surprisingly, he was never assaulted or arrested, but he occasionally found himself in very dangerous situations, including a confrontation with the Alabama Bureau of Investigation.

Beginning in 1964 many members of the SNCC became increasingly disillusioned with the organizations policy of nonviolence and with white participation in the movement. At the same time, Bond began to wonder where the SNCC was taking him, and according to Metcalf, he was worried about the troubles that would follow more militant action. With two children and a third on the way, Bond was concerned with the safety of his family. It was not a matter of becoming disenchanted with civil rights, he expressed to Metcalf, but of giving the children some of the advantages I had as a child. At the same time Bond was considering his career options, the Georgia legislature reapportioned the state, and Bond decided to run for one of the newly created Atlanta seats.

Denied Legislative Seat

Winning the election in 1964 seemed fairly easy for Bond. His campaign focused on such local issues as unemployment, housing, and the minimum wage, and he won 82 percent of the vote. Assuming his place in the legislature proved to be much more difficult. In January of 1966, the SNCC released a statement condemning U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. Bond publicly endorsed the statement and added his admiration of those who had the courage to resist the draft by burning their draft cards. The Georgia legislatures response was to refuse to seat him; when Bond came to take the oath of office, the assemblys clerk had five petitions accusing him of treason and of giving aid and comfort to the enemies of the United States and the enemies of Georgia, according to Metcalf. The conflict was not only one of allegiance: racism certainly lurked in the background. Representative Arthur J. Funk, for example, responded, I dont care if hes innocent of making these remarks. All those people tend to think that way, and every day hes on this floor is a disgrace.

The pressure on Bond to rescind his statements grew, but he refused to back down from what he believed. On January 10, 1966, he sat calmly as the Georgia house voted 184-12 against seating him on the charge of disorderly conduct. Bond became a media star as national leaders and the press ardently defended his right to take his seat in the legislature. Bond and his lawyers immediately took his case to federal district court, which ruled on January 31 to uphold the legislatures decision. The next step was the U.S. Supreme Court, and on December 5, 1966, it was unanimously ruled that the Georgia house had violated Bonds right of free expression under the First Amendment. As quoted by Metcalf, Chief Justice Earl Warren wrote that the requirement of an oath of office did not authorize a majority of state legislators to test the sincerity with which another duly elected legislator can swear to uphold the constitution. Certainly there can be no question but that the First Amendment protects expression in opposition to national foreign policy in Vietnam. It was the first time the high court had restricted a state governments power to evaluate the qualifications of its members.

In the time since the Georgia house had voted not to seat him, Bond ran in two elections for the vacant seats and won both times. After finally taking his seat, life in the assembly was not all that easy for him. To some extent he was treated as an outcast, and according to the Washington Post, for the first five years he would not speak on the house floor. Even if he hadnt been banned, he may not have been an influential legislator given the conservative bent of the Georgia house. Neary quoted lawyer Charles Morgan, who quipped that in the legislature at the time, [former German chancellor Adolf] Hitler would be a middle-of-the-roader. The future of Bonds tenure for the first few years looked hazy, prompting Williams to depict him as sitting in a political limbo.

This changed in 1968 when Bond was once again thrust into the national spotlight. That year the governor of Georgia, Lester Maddox, named only six black delegates of 107 to the Democratic National Convention, even though the national party had instructed that the delegations must be representative of the state constituency. The Georgia Democratic Party Forum, of which Bond was a member, decided to challenge the official delegation. Bond became a cochair of a rival delegation, and after several days of wrangling at the convention, Bonds delegation won almost half of Georgias delegate votes. Again Bond was a star, and at one point the convention hall was rocked with chants of Ju-lian Bond, Ju-lian Bond! In The Bonds, Williams quoted a supporter who said: Julian was increasingly becoming the glamour boy of the delegation. Hell, in some ways he became the challenge, period.

Nominated for the Vice-Presidency

Bonds star rose even higher when, in 1968, he became the Democratic Partys first black candidate for the U.S. vice-presidency. After a few states voted, though, Bond took his name out of the running; at 28, he was seven years too young for the job. Asked later if he would ever run for high office again, he answered, Ive already been cut out of the Vice-Presidency. If I cant have that, I dont want anything, as quoted by Reese Cleghorn in the New York Times Magazine.

Although Bond joked about his position, Cleghorn wrote in 1968 that many people see Bond as one of the rallying figures in a rebuilding of the Democratic party, to bring it out of the shadow of the New Deal [President Franklin D. Roosevelts 1930s program for economic recovery] and make it conform with the new forces emerging in the country. Cleghorn also quoted John Lewis, former chair of the SNCC, who said, With the loss of Martin [Luther] King [Jr.] and Senator [Robert F.] Kennedy, I think Julian has real potential to emerge as the symbol that can bring together certain elements within the old civil-rights movement, what we call the peace movement, and the New Politics, and to create a viable political force.

Bond remained popular through the end of the 1960s. He was a coveted speaker, receiving fees of up to $2000 per speech in 1971, and a 1970 poll showed he was the first choice of black Americans for president. Life in the Georgia house of representatives, however, was still difficult, and according to Williams, Bonds chances for election to a statewide office were slim. As the 1970s got underway, Bond started to fade from public attention. He limited his focus to helping the predominantly poor residents of his district, concentrating on such issues as street paving, and garbage collection. He was criticized for not involving himself in many other causes, especially those facing black Atlanta, and it seemed apparent that he was not entirely interested in politics. Nonetheless, in 1974 he successfully ran for a seat in the Georgia senate and held the position until 1987.

In 1976 Bond was asked to join President Jimmy Carters administration when it went to Washington, but he refused and found himself outside the power block. Jacqueline Trescotts 1979 Washington Post article characterized him as a political outsider, plagued by the question, What has Julian done lately? Bond tried to become the director of the NAACP but was considered too radical for the job. Hoping benefit from some media exposure, he even appeared on the television program Saturday Night Live and in a Richard Pryor movie. He continued to express his views, writing and giving speeches, but his popularity was on the wane. In 1977, according to Thomas in the Atlanta Constitution, a colleague in the Georgia house described him as the most ineffective legislator in the state. Thomas also quoted a friend of Bond who noted, I dont think anyone who knows him questions his sense of commitment. I also think there has always been a kind of lack of ambition there. According to Thomas, Some friends and associates admit Mr. Bond can sometimes come across as a bit too brash, brainy, and introspective.

Scandal in the 1980s

In the 1980s Bond lost even more ground, narrowly surviving a challenge to his senate seat. Thomas wrote that Bonds opponent charged him with inaccessibility, absenteeism, and inattention to local concerns. Bonds family also suffered from his preoccupied behavior. In 1983, Stephanie Oliver noted in Essence that at one time, his youngest daughter thought he lived in the airport. Having to take second place to politics had led his wife to consider leaving him, but she remained hopeful: There have been good spaces, she acknowledged to Oliver. Hes tried to be there. And hes done a lot more with us in the past five or ten years than he did in the first few. The challenges to Bonds personal and political life eventually proved to be too burdensome. In 1986 he gave up his state senate seat to run for U.S. Congress, but lost the Democratic primary to his longtime friend and SNCC colleague, John Lewis. His marriage also began to fall apart, and in 1987 his wife accused him of using cocaine. She publicly recanted her statement, but the fact that his alleged girlfriend at the time received a 22-year sentence on drug charges did little to help his reputation. In 1989 the couple divorced, and the next day Bond was named in a paternity suit. Though he denied the charges at first, in May of 1990 he admitted to fathering the child and was ordered to pay child support.

Bond managed to survive the difficult late 80s. Throughout this period he continued to write and speak, narrated both parts of Eyes on the Prize, the highly acclaimed Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) documentary on the civil rights movement, hosted the television program Americas Black Forum, wrote a nationally syndicated newspaper column titled Viewpoint, and contributed numerous articles to newspapers and magazines. In addition, since 1988 he has been a visiting professor at Drexel University, Harvard University, the University of Virginia, and American University. As a lecturer, Bond remained in great demand, and in 1990 he expected to give between 80 and 100 speeches.

With the onset of the 1990s, Bond continued to write, reviewing books and films and addressing political and social issues. He mentioned in the New York Times that he was working on a play as well as an autobiography. He also made it clear that it is unlikely he will go back into politics. I gave it 20 years. Thats enough, he told the Atlanta Constitution. Yet, however unsure of his future plans, he seemed certain his career is far from over, If people remember me, I hope its not for what Ive already done, but what Im still going to do. And what that is, I have no idea. But I expect to be going a lot longer.

Selected writings

A Time to Speak, A Time to Act: The Movement in Politics, Simon & Schuster, 1972.

Contributor of poems to anthologies, including Black Literature in America, American Negro Poetry, New Negro Poets: USA, and Beyond the Blues. Contributor of numerous articles to periodicals.

Sources

Books

Metcalf, George R., Up From Within: Todays New Black Leaders, McGraw-Hill, 1971.

Neary, John, Julian Bond: Black Rebel, Morrow, 1971.

Raines, Howell, My Soul Is Rested: The Story of the Civil Rights Movement in the Deep South, Penguin Books, 1977.

Williams, Roger M., The Bonds: An American Family, Atheneum, 1971.

Periodicals

Atlanta Constitution, January 15, 1990; June 15, 1990.

Essence, November 1983.

Life, November 8, 1968; December 13, 1968.

New Republic, November 24, 1986.

Newsweek, September 15, 1986; April 27, 1987; June 1, 1987.

New York Times, December 28, 1988.

New York Times Magazine, October 20, 1968.

Time, August 4, 1986; March 26, 1990.

Washington Post, May 25, 1979.

Megan Rubiner

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

Rubiner, Megan. "Bond, Julian 1940–." Contemporary Black Biography. 1992. Encyclopedia.com. 27 Sep. 2016 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

Rubiner, Megan. "Bond, Julian 1940–." Contemporary Black Biography. 1992. Encyclopedia.com. (September 27, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-2870400014.html

Rubiner, Megan. "Bond, Julian 1940–." Contemporary Black Biography. 1992. Retrieved September 27, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-2870400014.html

Julian Bond

Julian Bond

Julian Bond (born 1940) was a civil rights leader who was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives in 1965. Denied his seat because of his endorsement of an anti-Vietnam War statement, he was seated by the Supreme Court in the Georgia House one year after his election.

Horace Julian Bond, born on January 14, 1940, in Nashville, Tennessee, was the descendant of several generations of black educators and preachers. His father, Horace Mann Bond, was president of Fort Valley State College. When Bond's father was appointed to be the president of Lincoln University in Oxford, Pennsylvania, the family moved into an environment which was predominantly white. Bond's father caused quite a ferment at the university and in the surrounding community because of his protests against segregated facilities and white attitudes of racial superiority.

Young Julian, however, adjusted relatively easily to his new environment, attending elementary school with white children and winning the sixth grade award for being the brightest student in the class. He was sent to George School, a Quaker preparatory institution near Philadelphia, for his high school education. He encountered a few instances of racial prejudice during these years, but on the whole seemed to adjust well to the academic environment—although his grades were only average.

Civil Rights Movement

After deciding to attend Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, for his higher education, Bond was somewhat fearful about moving there because of the stories of racial violence he had heard. He began college in 1957 when the civil rights struggle was gaining momentum following the Supreme Court's 1954 school desegregation decision and the 1956 Montgomery, Alabama, bus boycott led by Martin Luther King, Jr. In February 1960 four freshmen from North Carolina Agriculture and Technical College staged a sit-in at Woolworth's white-only lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina, in order to force its desegregation. The daring action of these students captured the attention and imagination of black—and some white—students throughout the country.

Bond was swept into the incipient civil rights movement at Morehouse more as a coordinator and a spokesman than as a participant in the demonstrations and sit-ins. Bond was one of the founders of the organization directing the Atlanta student movement, which was called the Committee on Appeal for Human Rights. Because the students were so eager to be part of the civil rights movement, Ella Baker, secretary of the civil rights organization known as the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) suggested that interested students meet in 1960 at Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina, to coordinate their efforts. King, who was president of the SCLC; and James Lawson, Jr., a clergyman and an exponent of nonviolent resistance, spoke to the students, inviting them to become part of an existing civil rights organization. Several hundred students, Bond among them, finally decided that they would form their own organization, which they named the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).

Because of the abilities he had demonstrated working on student newspapers such as the Atlanta Inquirer, Bond was appointed communications director for SNCC, a position he held from 1960 until 1966. He became so active in the movement during these years that he dropped out of college and dedicated his time to articulating SNCC's goals in press releases, feature stories, and fliers. He did not complete his degree at Morehouse until 1971.

Georgia State Legislator

Southern segregation meant that black faces were virtually nonexistent in public office, as policemen or firemen, on school boards, on juries, or in bar associations. Few blacks could pass the rigorous voting rights tests or pay poll taxes. As hundreds of Georgia blacks became eligible to vote because of the efforts of civil rights activists, SNCC workers felt that it was important that black candidates seek elective offices. When they sought a candidate for a seat in the Georgia House of Representatives in 1965, the SNCC workers encouraged Bond to run. The Bond name was well known; Bond was articulate and physically attractive; and the workers felt that he would be able to capture the votes needed for victory.

Bond, only after much coaxing, agreed to enter the race. He was 25 years old. He canvassed the 136th legislative district door to door, gained the confidence of the people, and easily won the seat. Bond stated that, proportionately, more people had voted in his district than in any other district in the state. Just before the legislative session opened in 1966, Bond was called by a newsman and asked if he endorsed an anti-Vietnam War statement released by SNCC. Bond said that he had not seen the release, so the newsman read it to him. Bond then said that he basically agreed with it. Unknown to Bond, the interviewing newsman had taped the conversation. When the other Georgia legislators learned about the interview indicating Bond's support of anti-war activists, they formally barred him from the House. That decision was appealed, and eventually reached the Supreme Court. The Court supported Bond and ordered the Georgia House to restore his seat. He was installed in January 1967, over one year after his election victory.

Bond was interested in securing effective civil rights laws, improved welfare legislation, a minimum wage provision, the abolition of the death penalty, increased funding for schools, and anti-poverty and urban renewal programs for the benefit of his constituents. Bond wrote that street protests were moving indoors. He said that it was the time to "translate the politics of marches, demonstrations, and protests" into effective electoral instruments.

The 1968 Democratic Convention

In 1968 Bond was one of the leaders of a delegation to the Democratic National Convention in Chicago whose purpose was to challenge the all-white Georgia delegation led by Governor Lester Maddox and to insure that black voters were represented by black delegates. The delegation won half of the seats from the traditional delegates, and Bond was subsequently nominated to be vice president of the United States. He declined because he was only 28 years old and the Constitution stated that a vice presidential candidate had to be 35.

Later Years

As the 1970s got underway, Bond started to fade from public attention. He limited his focus to helping the predominantly poor residents of his district, concentrating on such issues as street paving and garbage collection. He was criticized for involving himself in many other causes, especially those facing black Atlanta, and it sometimes seemed apparent that he was not entirely interested in politics. Bond continued to express his views, writing and giving speeches, but his popularity was on the wane. He served in the Georgia House until 1975 and then won election to the Georgia Senate. In 1977 Keith Thomas of the Atlanta Constitution wrote that a former colleague of Bond in the Georgia House had described him as the most ineffective legislator in the state. In 1976 he rejected an opportunity to join the administration of President Jimmy Carter and subsequently found himself somewhat isolated politically.

In the 1980s Bond narrowly survived a challenge to his Senate seat by an opponent who, according to Thomas, "charged him with inaccessibility, absenteeism, and inattention to local concerns." In 1986 Bond gave up his Senate seat to run for U.S. Congress, but lost the Democratic primary to longtime friend and SNCC colleague, John Lewis. In 1987 Bond's marital problems became headline news when his wife charged him with adultery and cocaine use. The couple divorced in 1989 and, in a paternity suit the following year, Bond admitted to fathering the child of his alleged mistress and was ordered to pay child support.

Bond survived this difficult period of his life by continuing to write and speak. He narrated the highly acclaimed Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) documentary on the civil rights movement, Eyes on the Prize, hosted the television program America's Black Forum, wrote a nationally syndicated newspaper column titled "Viewpoint," and contributed numerous newspaper and magazine articles. Since 1988 Bond has taught as a visiting professor at Drexel University, Harvard University, Williams College, the University of Virginia, and American University. In 1995 he was elected to his fourth term on the board of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Bond has made it clear that it is unlikely that he will reenter politics. "I gave it 20 years. That's enough," he told the Atlanta Constitution. Yet, the former legislator believes his career is far from over. "If people remember me, I hope it's not for what I've already done, but what I'm still going to do. And what that is, I have no idea. But I expect to be going a lot longer."

Further Reading

Bond wrote a book in which he discussed his political views from a historical perspective entitled A Time to Act; The Movement in Politics (1972). There is a full-length biography of Bond's accomplishments by age 31 written by John Neary called Julian Bond: Black Rebel (1971). Neary is somewhat critical of Bond and generally fails to recognize his leadership talents. Roger M. Williams wrote a far more analytical biography of several generations of the Bond family entitled The Bonds: An American Family (1971). However, Williams at times borrows heavily from Neary's account of Julian Bond's life. □

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Julian Bond." Encyclopedia of World Biography. 2004. Encyclopedia.com. 27 Sep. 2016 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Julian Bond." Encyclopedia of World Biography. 2004. Encyclopedia.com. (September 27, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3404700765.html

"Julian Bond." Encyclopedia of World Biography. 2004. Retrieved September 27, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3404700765.html

Bond, Julian

Julian Bond

Born: January 14, 1940
Nashville, Tennessee

African American civil rights leader, political activist, and politician

J ulian Bond is a civil rights leader, political activist, and politician who has spent most of his life fighting for equality in America. He has remained committed to the causes he believes in since joining the civil rights movement as a young college student.

Family and education

Horace Julian Bond, born on January 14, 1940, in Nashville, Tennessee, was the descendant of several generations of black educators and preachers. When his father Horace Mann Bond became president of Lincoln University in Oxford, Pennsylvania, the family moved into an environment that was mostly white. While in Oxford, the elder Bond caused a stir because of his protests against segregated facilities (people being required to use different facilities based on their race) and white attitudes of racial superiority. Young Julian, however, adjusted relatively easily to his new environment. He attended elementary school with white children and won the sixth grade award for being the brightest student in the class. He was sent to George School, near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for his high-school education. He encountered a few instances of racial prejudice (being judged because of his race) during these years, but on the whole he adjusted well to the academic environmentalthough his grades were only average.

His father later became president of Atlanta University and the family moved to Atlanta, Georgia. Despite rumors of racial unrest, Bond decided to attend Morehouse College in Atlanta after his graduation from high school. Bond started college in 1957.

Early involvement in the civil rights movement

At Morehouse, Bond became the coordinator and spokesman for civil rights demonstrations. He started an Atlanta student civil rights group called the Committee on Appeal for Human Rights.

In 1960 Ella Baker (19031986), secretary of the civil rights organization known as the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) invited students to meet at Shaw University, in Raleigh, North Carolina, to coordinate their efforts. Martin Luther King Jr. (19291968), president of the SCLC, and Reverend James Lawson Jr., a believer in nonviolent resistance, spoke to the students and invited them to join the SCLC. Instead of joining the SCLC, several hundred students, including Bond, decided to form their own organization. They called their organization the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).

Bond was appointed communications director for the SNCC. He kept this position from 1960 until 1966. He became very active in the SNCC, dropped out of college, and did not complete his degree at Morehouse until 1971.

Elected office in Georgia

Segregation in the South meant that very few African Americans held positions in government or in public service. The SNCC felt that it was important for African American candidates to seek elective offices. When the SNCC asked Bond to run for the Georgia House of Representatives, he reluctantly agreed to enter the race. Bond campaigned by visiting people door-to-door in the 136th legislative district. He gained the confidence of the people and easily won the election.

Just before the legislative session opened in 1966, Bond was contacted by a newsman and asked if he supported a statement against the Vietnam War (195575; a war fought in Vietnam in which South Vietnam, supported by the United States, was fighting against a takeover by Communist North Vietnam) that had been released by the SNCC. When Bond said he had not seen the release, the newsman read it to him. Bond then said he basically agreed with the statement. Upon hearing this, the other Georgia legislators voted to keep him from taking his seat in the House. Almost a year later, the U.S. Supreme Court declared the House vote to be unconstitutional. Bond was installed in the Georgia House of Representatives in January 1967, more than one year after his election victory.

During his time as a Georgia state representative, Bond supported civil rights laws, welfare legislation, a minimum-wage provision, legislation to end the death penalty, and antipoverty and urban renewal programs.

In 1968 Bond led an SNCC-backed delegation to the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. Their purpose was to challenge the delegation led by Georgia governor Lester Maddox (1915) and to make sure African American delegates represented African American voters. Bond's delegation won half the votes away from the traditional delegates.

Political career ends

Bond served in the Georgia House of Representatives until 1975. In 1976 he won a seat in the Georgia state senate. In 1986, however, Bond gave up his state senate seat to run for U.S. Congress. Bond's political life took a downward turn as he lost the Democratic primary to his former friend and colleague, John Lewis (1940). Then in 1987 Bond's marital problems became headline news when his wife accused him of adultery and of cocaine use.

In the early 1990s, Bond served as a visiting professor at several universities, including Harvard University and the University of Virginia. He also narrated a Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) documentary about the civil rights movement, hosted television's America's Black Forum, wrote many newspaper and magazine articles, and had a newspaper column that was printed in newspapers across the country.

Since 1998 Bond has served as chairman of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). In 2002 Bond was reelected to his fifth term as chairman of the NAACP. He said that he was looking "forward to another year of progress in our fight for freedom, justice, and equality for all citizens." It is clear through these words that Bond has remained as committed to civil rights as he was when he first joined the movement.

For More Information

Jordan, Denise. Julian Bond: Civil Rights Activist and Chairman of the NAACP. Berkeley Heights, NJ: Enslow, 2001.

Williams, Roger M. The Bonds: An American Family. New York: Atheneum, 1971.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Bond, Julian." UXL Encyclopedia of World Biography. 2003. Encyclopedia.com. 27 Sep. 2016 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Bond, Julian." UXL Encyclopedia of World Biography. 2003. Encyclopedia.com. (September 27, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3437500113.html

"Bond, Julian." UXL Encyclopedia of World Biography. 2003. Retrieved September 27, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3437500113.html

Bond, Julian

Julian Bond (Horace Julian Bond), 1940–2015, U.S. civil-rights leader, b. Nashville, Tenn. As a student at Morehouse College, he participated in sit-ins at segregated Atlanta restaurants. He was a founder (1960) of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, serving (1961–65) as its communications director. Elected (1965) to the Georgia assembly, Bond was denied his seat because of his statements opposing the war in Vietnam. Reelected in 1966, he began serving after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld (Dec., 1966) his right to hold office. A state representative until 1974, he then served as a state senator (1975–87). Bond led a group of black delegates to the 1968 Democratic Convention where he challenged the party's unit rule and won representation at the expense of the regular Georgia delegation. He was also a founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center, serving as its president from 1971 to 1979. In 1986 he lost a Georgia congressional race to John Lewis. From 1998 to 2010 he was chairman of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Bond was the author of A Time to Speak, a Time to Act (1972).

See biographies by J. Neary (1971) and R. M. Williams (1971).

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Bond, Julian." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. 2016. Encyclopedia.com. 27 Sep. 2016 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Bond, Julian." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. 2016. Encyclopedia.com. (September 27, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1E1-Bond-Jul.html

"Bond, Julian." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. 2016. Retrieved September 27, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1E1-Bond-Jul.html

Facts and information from other sites