Julian Bond

Julian Bond

Bond, Julian (Horace Julian Bond), 1940-, 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. In 1986 he lost a Georgia congressional race to John Lewis. In 1998 he became chairman of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. He is the author of A Time to Speak, a Time to Act (1972).

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

Horace Julian Bonds (born January 14 1940) is an American leader of the American Civil Rights Movement. While a student at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia during the early 1960s, he helped found the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). He has been Chairman of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1998.


Born in Nashville, Tennessee, Bond's family moved to Pennsylvania when he was five years old when his father, Horace Mann Bond, took a position as the first African American President of Lincoln University, his alma mater. He was educated at George School, a private Quaker preparatory boarding school near Newtown, Pennsylvania. Then, beginning in 1957, he attended Morehouse College in Atlanta. While there, he won a varsity letter for swimming. He was also instrumental in founding a literary magazine called The Pegasus and he served as an intern at Time magazine.

In 1960, Bond was a founding member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and served as communications director from 1961 to 1966. From 1960 to 1963, he led student protests against segregation in public facilities in Georgia.

Bond left Morehouse in 1961, returning to complete his degree, a BA in English, in 1971. He helped found the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a public interest law firm based in Montgomery, Alabama, along with Morris Dees. He was that organization's president from 1971 to 1979. Bond remains a member of the board of directors of the SPLC.

In 1965, Bond was one of 8 African Americans elected to the Georgia House of Representatives. On January 10 1966, however, the Georgia state representatives voted 184-12 not to seat him because he publicly endorsed the SNCC's statement of opposition to U.S. policy in the Vietnam War and his sympathy for persons who were "unwilling to respond to a military draft". A U.S. District Court panel ruled 2-1 that the Georgia House had not violated any federal 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 that it was required to seat him.

From 1965 to 1975, he served as a Democratic member in the Georgia House for four terms. He went on to serve six terms in the Georgia Senate from 1975-1986.

During the 1968 Presidential election, Bond led a challenge delegation from Georgia to the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. Here, unexpectedly and contrary to his intention, he became the first African-American to be proposed as a major-party candidate for Vice President of the United States. While expressing gratitude for the honor, the 28-year-old Bond quickly declined, citing the constitutional requirement that one must be at least 35 years of age to serve in that office.

Bond resigned from the Georgia Senate to run for the United States House of Representatives, but he lost to civil rights leader John Lewis in a bitter contest in which Bond was accused of using cocaine and other drugs. Bond was later the target of an investigation by the U.S. Attorney's office, during which his estranged wife, Alice, made numerous accusations of drug use to the Atlanta Police Department while refusing to testify to a grand jury after receiving a phone call from Andrew Young, who was at that time Mayor of Atlanta. In the 1980s and 1990s, Bond taught at several universities, including American, Drexel, and Harvard universities and the University of Virginia.

Bond is at present Chairman of the NAACP while continuing to write and lecture about the history of the civil rights movement and the condition of African Americans and the poor. He is President Emeritus of the Southern Poverty Law Center. He hosted America's Black Forum from 1980 until 1997. He remains a commentator for the Forum, for radio's Byline, and for NBC's The Today Show. He authored the nationally-syndicated newspaper column Viewpoint. He narrated the critically-acclaimed PBS series Eyes on the Prize in 1987 and 1990.

He has published A Time To Speak, A Time To Act, a collection of his essays, as well as Black Candidates Southern Campaign Experiences. His poems and articles have appeared in a Who’s Who list of magazines and newspapers.

Personal life

Bond married Alice Clopton, who was a student at Spelman College, on July 28, 1961, and they divorced on November 10, 1989. Bond then married Pamela S. Horowitz, an attorney, on March 17, 1990. He has five children from his first marriage: Phyllis Jane Bond-McMillan, Horace Mann Bond II, Michael Julian Bond, (a representative from Atlanta’s Council District Three), Jeffrey Alvin Bond and Julia Louise Bond.

Controversial comments

As NAACP chairman, Bond has repeatedly denounced the Republican Party. WorldNet Daily, a conservative Internet-based news service, reported that Bond had made a statement of the Republicans' view on civil rights on February 2006 at a speech given at Fayetteville State University, a historically black college in North Carolina, saying: "[The Republicans'] idea of equal rights is the American flag and the Confederate swastika flying side-by-side." WorldNet Daily accused him of calling Secretary of State Rice and former Secretary Powell "tokens" and comparing the judicial nominees of President George W. Bush to the Taliban. His actual words were that the Republican Party uses them "as kinds of human shields against any criticism of their record on civil rights." The issue was resolved by the Fayetteville Observer reviewing the audio recordings of the speech.

Bond has been a strong critic of the Bush administration since it came to office in 2001. 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 Gail Norton, who defended the Confederacy in a 1996 speech on states' rights. The selection of these two individuals, Bond said, "...whose devotion to the Confederacy is nearly canine in its uncritical affection", "appeased the wretched appetites of the extreme right wing". Then-House Majority Leader Dick Armey responded to Bond's statement with a letter accusing NAACP leaders of "racial McCarthyism.

Bond was quoted in a New York Times article in 2003 criticizing the names of public schools named for Confederate leaders by saying that "if Robert E. Lee had had his way, [black children] would still be in bondage."

Current activities

Today, Bond is a Distinguished Adjunct Professor at American University in Washington, D.C., and a faculty member in the history department at the University of Virginia where he teaches History of the Civil Rights Movement. In 1999, Bond received an honorary LL.D. from Bates College.

In 2008, Bond will receive an honorary degree from The George Washington University, where he will deliver the 2008 Commencement keynote address.

Media appearances

Bond has been interviewed in or appeared on numerous articles and shows during his tenure with the NAACP. He also hosted Saturday Night Live on April 9 1977. One of the most famous segments from this appearance is the "Black Perspective" skit with then-SNL cast member Garrett Morris, where he explained perceptions of white and black I.Q. differences with the tongue-in-cheek "theory" that "light-skinned blacks are smarter than dark-skinned blacks." He also had a small appearance in the movie Ray.


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