Make your own free website on Tripod.com
US Flag
US Flag
US Flag
US Flag
US Flag
US Flag
US Flag
US Flag
US Flag
US Flag
US Flag
US Flag
US Flag
US Flag
US Flag
US Flag
US Flag
US Flag
US Flag
US Flag
US Flag
US Flag
US Flag
US Flag
US Flag
US Flag
US Flag
US Flag
US Flag
US Flag
US Flag
US Flag
US Flag
US Flag
US Flag
US Flag
US Flag
US Flag
US Flag
US Flag
US Flag
US Flag
US Flag
US Flag
US Flag
US Flag
US Flag


Horace Julian Bond

Julian Bond

Horace Julian Bond is and has been one of the leading lights in America's civil rights movement and was for the most part of the 1970's considered the voice of black America. Many consider him an offshoot of the great civil rights activist W.E.B. Du Bois, especially for his exemplary oratorical skills and fearless takes on controversial issues. Incidentally, Du Bois was a good friend of Julian's father, Dr. Horace Mann Bond, who he met through black academic circles. He was among the long list of black intellectuals who visited the Bond household when Julian was still a young boy.

Julian Bond was born on January 14th 1940 in the U.S. city of Nashville, Tennessee. At the time of Julian's birth, his father Dr. Horace Mann Bond held a Ph.D in Education and was the President of Fort Valley State College, a black college in Georgia. His mother Julia Washington Bond was a graduate of Fisk University and a Librarian at the time of his birth. In 1945 Julian's father was offered and accepted a post as President of Lincoln University, a black institution larger than Fort Valley State College and located in Oxford, Pennsylvania. He became the first black President of Lincoln University and moved his family to Pennsylvania. Needless to say, the Bonds were economically well-off as compared to average blacks at that time. So unlike many other black kids who attended segregated schools, Julian attended intergrated elementary schools in Oxford Township before joining George School in 1952, a predominantly white private Quaker High school in Newtown, Pennsylvania. Reports indicate that Julian Bond did not perform as expected academically, and in fact took five years to get his High School Diploma. He was however an outgoing and very well-liked student and took part in a lot of school activities. Writing was one of his major passions in high school and indeed remained so through his later years. He graduated from George School in 1957 and proceeded to Morehouse College, an all-male black college in Atlanta, Georgia. Much of Julian's decision to attend Morehouse was based on his family's relocation to Atlanta in 1957 after his father left his post as President of Lincoln University to take up the position of Dean of the School of Education at Atlanta University.

It was at Morehouse College that Julian Bond's social activism began. In February 1960, Lonnie King, Julian's student friend at Morehouse showed him an article from the Atlanta Daily World that talked about a non-violent sit-in demonstration inside a major retail store conducted by black college students in Greensboro, North Carolina. The protesting black students had sat in the "whites only" section of the retail store in defiance of the store's segregation policies. This story inspired Bond and Lonnie King to stage similar protests in Atlanta. They began mobilizing Atlanta's black college students and planning sit-ins around the city. When then Atlanta University President Dr. Rufus Clement overheard plans for the protest, he approached Julian and Lonnie with a suggestion. He suggested that inorder to make the protest more effective, they needed to incorporate a document outlining clearly why they were opposed to segregation laws. Julian Bond, Lonnie King plus several other students thus drafted a document called An Appeal for Human Rights that appeared as a full-page ad in several Atlanta newspapers evoking a major sensation in the city. The students formed an organization calling itself COAHR(Committee on Appeal for Human Rights) and designated several public places in Atlanta where they would hold their sit-ins.

On March 15th 1960 COAHR conducted several sit-ins around Atlanta that attracted some 200 plus students. The demonstrations created a major buzz around Atlanta and led to massive arrests of students, including Bond. The students were later set free when their supporters organized their bail money. By April 1960, the sit-in movement had gained nationwide attention and attracted major civil rights figures including but not limited to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., then President of the Souther Christian Leadership Conference(SCLC). In April 1960, Dr. King invited COAHR, plus other black Atlanta students to join a meeting of other sit-in movement students to be held at Shaw University in North Carolina. It was at this meeting that another prominent student body, the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee(SNCC) was formed. At first Bond shyed away from any SNCC post and instead concentrated on COAHR and other student movements back in Atlanta. It was not until January 1961 that he took up a position at the SNCC, becoming its Communications Director. This position was perfect for him, considering the fact that he loved to write and speak. He was in charge of all SNCC's media relations. He however found less and less time for academics as his student activism grew. As his grades began to suffer, he had no alternative but to drop out of college. His mentallity was that school would always be there so he could go back whenever he felt comfortable.

Julian Bond ventured into politics proper in 1965 when he vied for a seat in Georgia's State Legislature to represent the State's 136th District. In the ensuing elections, with the full backing of the SNCC, he easily defeated Howard Creecy, a local black Minister. But Bond soon put his Legislature seat in jeopardy on Jan 6th 1966 when he endorsed an anti- Vietnam war statement made by then SNCC leader John Lewis. His statements seriously enraged some Goergia state officials who began working actively to bar him from being seated in the House of Representatives. They claimed he was unpatriotic and thus unfit to hold a seat in Georgia's legislature. A House Committee set up to investigate the matter agreed with the angry state officials and barred Bond from being sworn in as State Representative and declared a special election to fill the vacant seat. An enraged Bond took the case to the Federal District court arguing that the move by the Georgia Legislature was an infringement on his freedom of speech, clearly stipulated in the U.S. Constitution. Bond won again in the special elections, but the Georgia legislature again barred him from being seated. This time around they had the backing of the Federal District Court, which had ruled that the Gergia House of Representatives could bar Bond. When the 136th District seat was again declared vacant and a special election called, Bond again ran for the seat and took his appeal to the U.S Supreme Court. On December 5th 1966, the Supreme Court upheld his freedom of speech appeal and ordered the Georgia House of Representatives to seat Bond. Bond was finally sworn in 1967 and soon afterwards, stepped down from his SNCC position citing other mounting responsibilities.

During the 1968 Chicago Democratic National Convention, Bond was nominated for Vice-President, making him the first African-American ever to receive such an honour. Since he was only 28 years old at that time, this also made him the youngest person ever to be nominated for Vice-President. This means that if his nomination stood and the Democrats won the 1968 elections, Bond would have been U.S. Vice-President. Bond's nomination however could not hold because the U.S. constitution clearly stated that any candidate for U.S. President or Vice-President must be at least 35 years old. He thus had no otherwise but to step down. Its important to note here that the 1968 National Democtratic Convention went down as one of the roudiest and most violent in U.S. campaign history. Much of the confusion and chaos were brought about by the anti-Vietnam war protests that rocked the country at that time. In fact many people believe that its the mayhem within the Democratic Party that led to a Republican win in the 1968 Presidential elections. Richard Nixon was elected U.S. President and his Vice-President Spiro Agnew.

In 1971, ten years after he left, Bond went back to Morehouse College to take care of what he called "unfinished business". That same year, he earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree. After graduating, and still serving as a member of the Georgia House of Representatives, he began associating with his old nemesis, the NAACP(National Association for the Advancement of Colored People). The NAACP if you recall was not always cozy with the SNCC where Bond was an official, plus a host of other student civil rights groups. Many students claimed the NAACP was mired in bureaucratic redtape and that most of it members, who were mostly elderly were inflexible to changes. Bond however decided to put all these differences aside and join the oldest civil rights organization in the U.S. He was particularly moved by the fact that with all the criticisms levelled at the NAACP, it had managed to stay afoot since 1909, something none of the civil rights organizations in the 1970's could compete with. Rather than knock down the veteran organization, he vowed to help make it more effective.

In 1973 Julian Bond was elected President of the NAACP Atlanta Chapter. Around this time he also decided to run for a seat in the Georgia Senate which he won in 1974. This capped his successful 7 years in the Georgia House of Representatives. His legislative endeavours however were not making him enough money to adequately cater for his family. In fact he was reportedly only making $2,000 a year as Georgia Senator, an insufficient income by any account. He thus resorted to using his public speaking talent to raise money, as most accomplished politicians do. After his 1968 Vice-President nomination, he had become a very popular figure and many organizations were hot on his heels to deliver speeches. As Georgia Senator he thus began criss-crossing the country delivering speeches, and making roughly $2,000 per presentation. Given that he could easily do 100 speeches every year, he began making a lot of money from speeches, and became the symbolic voice of black America, sometimes appearing as a guest speker in leading American TV programs.

In 1984 his excellence in public service was recognized when he was awarded the Legislative Service Award from the Georgia Municipal Association. In 1985 he went on to receive the Bill of Rights Award given by the Georgia's American Civil Liberties Union. In 1986, Bond decided to give up his Georgia Senate seat and vie for a seat in U.S. Congress. In his fight for a U.S. Congressional seat he was pitted against none other than his long time SNCC friend and ally John Lewis, plus two other contestants. As the campaign heated up, what began as a friendly challenge soon degenerated into an ugly personal mudslinging contest. John Lewis in particular raised questions of drug use by Bond, that attracted a lot of attention especially by the investigating authorities. Bond defeated his opponents, but did not secure a clear majority. He thus went on a run-off election against John Lewis. John Lewis easily attracted white votes from the two defeated contestants and edged out Bond in the run-off. The two old allies parted ways in a bitter campaign that would separate them for the rest of their lives. After losing in the U.S. Congressional elections, Bond found himself not only out of a job, but more importantly, less a close friend and ally. He is reported to have said after his election loss, "The most painful thing for me was discovering that a man I've been friends with for 25 years didnt value the friendship as highly as I did." As if to add insult to injury, he and his wife also separated the same year.

Drug use charges against Bond surfaced again on March 18th 1987 when his estranged wife Alice made similar accusations. This time the FBI launched an investigation into the matter causing widespread protests from leading black leaders. However the investigations were dropped in July the same year for lack of evidence. Bond's trials and tribulations clearly did not keep him down because in the same year, he narrated the critically acclaimed Eyes on The Prize, a video history of the civil rights movement. His popularity greatly surged following his Eyes on the Prize success. In 1990, he followed up his 1987 act with Eyes on The Prize II which chronicled America's civil rights movement from 1966-1990. He also began actively teaching history in Universities like University of Pennsylvania, Harvard University, American University in Washington, D.C., just to mention but a few.

In 1988, Bond was elected Chairman of the National Board of Directors of the NAACP, effectively the organization's boss. Under his leadership he has streamlined the organization and sharpened its focus to reflect current minority issues. On assuming Chairmanship of NAACP, he said, "We're not going to do any new thngs, we're going to do the old things better." His support was also instrumental in the election of Kweisi Mfume in 1996 as President of the NAACP. As President, Mfume is in charge of the organization's daily operations while Bond who is the Boss is in charge of formulating NAACP policy.

Return to the Home Page

Copyright©AfricanTribute.com Inc., 2002
All Rights Reserved

World Banner Exchange Banner
World Banner Exchange BannerWorld Banner Exchange Banner


The Africa Banner Network