Race in America

Restructuring Inequality | June 3-6, 2010

left-side faces
right-side faces


Julian Bond Biography

Horace Julian Bond was born in Nashville, Tennessee, in January 1940. His father, 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 higher-education institution, Pennsylvania's Lincoln University. The Bond family lived at Lincoln until 1957, when Julian's father 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, Pa., 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 parks.

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 rural South.

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 BA 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 sponsored or cosponsored more than 60 bills that became law, and he organized the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus, then the largest such group in the nation.

He was elected to the Georgia Senate in 1974. When he left the 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 cochair 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 (NAACP), the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization. Bond has chaired 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.