Julian Bond at the Georgia State Legislature,
January 10, 1966
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Horace Julian Bond is a scholar, poet, former legislator and activist in the American Civil Rights Movement. Julian Bond as he came to be known, was born on January 14, 1940, in Nashville, Tennessee to Julia Washington Bond and Horace Mann Bond an educator who served as the first African American president of Lincoln University and as dean of the School of Education at Atlanta University. Bond has been married twice, first to Alice Copland (1961) and to Pamela Horowitz (1990). He has five children.
In 1957, Bond enrolled at Morehouse College where he earned a varsity letter on the swim team and founded, The Pegasus literary magazine. In Atlanta, Bond embarked upon a lifelong career of social and political activism. He helped found the Committee on Appeal for Human Rights, an Atlanta University Center student group that engaged in three years of protests against Atlanta’s segregated movie theaters, lunch counters and parks. In 1960 he joined several hundred students from across the South to form the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) at Shaw University. A grassroots organization, SNCC was one of the leading advocates of Black equality during the Civil Rights movement through protests and voter registration campaigns. Within one year of it’s founding, Bond became SNCC’s Communications Director, leading it’s publications and publicity departments. In 1961 Bond left Morehouse one semester short of graduation to join the staff of a new protest paper the Atlanta Inquirer
. He would return one decade later to complete a degree in English.
Bond’s activism in Georgia politics grew out of SNCC’s organizing efforts in Atlanta. In 1965, Bond was first elected to a one-year term in the Georgia House of Representatives on a platform that included a two-dollar minimum wage, improved urban renewal programs and an end of literacy test for voters. However, the Georgia state representatives voted 184-12 not to seat him after he publicly endorsed the SNCC's statement of opposition to U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. In Bond v. Floyd
(385 U.S. 116), the Supreme Court ruled the Georgia House of Representatives was required to seat him. Ultimately, Bond served four terms in the Georgia House and six terms in the Senate. In 1968 he became the first African American nominated for Vice-President by a major political party at Democratic National Convention, which he attended as co-chairman of the Georgia Loyal National Delegation. Despite his nomination, Bond withdrew as he was, by law, too young to serve.
In addition to his legislative career, Bond’s also help found the Southern Poverty Law Center, a public interest law firm located in Montgomery, Alabama. He served as SPLC’s president from 1971 to 1979, and later as board member and President Emeritus. He was the president of the Atlanta branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People from 1978 to 1989. Similarly, Bond has served four terms on the NAACP’s national board as well as Board Chairman since 1998.
As an educator, Bond has taught at many institutions, he currently holds positions at American University and the University of Virginia. He is the author of numerous publications including: Black Candidates – Southern Campaign Experiences and A Time to Speak, A Time to Act
; while his poems and essays have appeared in a variety of journals and newspapers. Bond has also narrated a number of documentaries and hosted America’s Black Forum, the oldest Black owned television show in syndication. As an educator, writer, activist and politician, Julian Bond has been at the forefront of social change in America.
Clayborne Carson, In Struggle: SNCC and the Black Awakening of the 1960s (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1995); John Neary, Julian Bond: Black Rebel (New York: Morrow, 1971), Roger M. Williams, The Bonds: An American Family (New York: Atheneum, 1971).
University of Washington, Tacoma