J. Max Bond, Sr., an educator who worked in the United States and abroad, was born in Nashville, Tennessee in 1902. His father was a Congregationalist minister and his mother was a schoolteacher. Bond’s undergraduate education came from what would become Roosevelt University in Chicago, Illinois. His initial graduate work was done at the University of Pittsburgh but he earned a PhD. from the University of Southern California in 1934. Bond was awarded Rosenwald Fellowships in sociology in 1931, 1932, and 1934, which he later said were critical to his education.
Bond’s early resume included working as the director of an interracial commission in Kentucky from 1928 to 1931, and as a personnel and training officer for the Tennessee Valley Authority, a New Deal program, from 1934 to 1938. He then segued into the education sector, serving as the dean of Dillard University in New Orleans, Louisiana from 1938 to 1940. Bond worked at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama where he served as an administrator from 1940 to 1944.
After 1944, Bond became involved in the international education sector. From 1944 to 1947 he worked in the Haitian school system, where he assisted in the development of vocational skills and Creole-language textbooks among other things. In 1947 Bond returned to the United States and for the next three years served as Dean of Atlanta University’s School of Education.
In 1950 Bond went to work in Monrovia, Liberia, overseeing the conversion of Liberia College into the University of Liberia. He later became President of the University. Bond was the only American in the 20th Century to head an African university. He viewed his accomplishments the university’s President as the highlight of his career. During his tenure the university increased its funding and enrollment. Bond stepped down as university president in 1955 to become an official of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). There he served as an educational advisor, working in African and Middle Eastern countries where he could share his experiences and expertise.
J. Max Bond retired from full time work as an educational advisor in 1966, but remained a consultant for the State Department. He moved to the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Washington, D.C., and passed away in that city in 1991.