As an activist who has faced jail for his convictions, as a veteran of
more than 20 years of service in the Georgia General Assembly, as a
writer, teacher, and lecturer, Julian Bond has been on the cutting edge
of social change since he was a college student leading sit in
demonstrations in Atlanta in 1960.
(photo: Paul Green)
Bond also has a long history with the Southern Poverty Law Center. When Morris Dees and Joseph J. Levin, Jr.
founded it in 1971, Bond became its first president. He served as
president emeritus for years, and today serves on its board of
Bond also narrated two of the Center's videos, the Academy
Award-winning "A Time for Justice" and "The Shadow of Hate," which was
nominated for an Oscar.
* * * * *
Horace Julian Bond was born in Nashville, Tennessee, in January
1940. His father, Dr. Horace Mann Bond, was the first president of Fort
Valley State College, and in 1945 became the first black president of
the country's oldest black private college, Pennsylvania's Lincoln
University. The Bond family lived at Lincoln until 1957, when Dr. Bond
became dean of the School of Education at Atlanta University. His
mother, Julia Washington Bond, retired in her 90s after working for
decades as a librarian.
Julian Bond graduated from the George School, a coeducational Quaker
school in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, in 1957, and entered Morehouse
College in Atlanta that same year.
While still a student, Bond was a founder of the Committee on Appeal
for Human Rights (COAHR), a student civil rights organization that
helped win integration of Atlanta's movie theaters, lunch counters, and
Bond was also one of several hundred students from across the South
who helped to form the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee
(SNCC). He later became SNCC's communications director, responsible for
its printing and publicity departments and editing the SNCC newsletter,
The Student Voice. Bond also worked in voter registration drives in the
Bond left Morehouse one semester short of graduation in 1961 to join
the staff of a new protest newspaper, The Atlanta Inquirer. He later
became the paper's managing editor. Bond returned to Morehouse in 1971
and graduated with a B.A. in English.
Turning his attentions to the political sphere, Bond was first
elected in 1965 to a one year term in the Georgia House of
Representatives. Members of the House voted not to seat him because of
his outspoken opposition to the war in Vietnam. Bond was elected two
more times before the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the Georgia
House had violated Bond's rights in refusing him his seat.
During his service in the Georgia General Assembly, Bond was sponsor
or co sponsor of more than 60 bills that became law, and he organized
the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus, then the largest such group in
He was elected to the Georgia Senate in 1974. When he left the state
senate in January 1987, Bond had been elected to public office more
times than any other black Georgian, living or dead, ending his tenure
only when an unsuccessful congressional race in 1986 prevented him from
seeking re election to the Senate.
In 1968, Bond was co chairman of the Georgia Loyal National
Delegation to the Democratic Convention. The Loyalists, an insurgent
group, were successful in unseating the hand picked regulars. Bond was
nominated for Vice President of the United States, the first black
person to be so nominated by a major political party, though he
withdrew his name because he was too young to serve.
Bond holds numerous honorary degrees and has served on the boards of
many organizations working for social change. He is currently a
Distinguished Scholar in Residence at the American University in
Washington, D.C., and a professor in the history department at the
University of Virginia.
In 1995, Bond was elected to his fourth term on the National Board
of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the
nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization. Bond has served
as chairman of the NAACP since his election in February 1998.
A collection of Bond's essays has been published under the title A Time To Speak, A Time To Act. His poems and articles have appeared in The New York Times, American Negro Poetry, the Los Angeles Times, and several other national publications.