Julian BondFormer Chairman, NAACP
From his college days as a founder of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) to his Chairmanship of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) (1998 – 2010), Julian Bond has been an active participant in the movements for civil rights, economic justice, and peace, and an aggressive spokesman for the disinherited.
As an activist who has faced jail for his convictions, as a veteran of more than twenty years of service in the Georgia General Assembly, as a writer, teacher, and lecturer, Bond has been on the cutting edge of social change since he was a college student leading sit-in demonstrations in Atlanta in 1960.
Julian Bond graduated from the George School, a co- educational Quaker school in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, in 1957, and entered Morehouse College in Atlanta that same year. While at Morehouse, Bond won a varsity letter as a member of the Morehouse swimming team, helped to found a literary magazine called The Pegasus, and was an intern for Time magazine.
While still a student, Bond was a founder in l960 of the Committee on Appeal for Human Rights (COAHR), the Atlanta University Center student civil rights organization that directed three years of non-violent anti-segregation protests that won integration of Atlanta's movie theaters, lunch counters, and parks. Bond was arrested for sitting-in at the then-segregated cafeteria at Atlanta City Hall.
He was one of several hundred students from across the South who helped to form SNCC on Easter Weekend, 1960, and shortly thereafter became SNCC's Communications Director, heading the organization's printing and publicity departments, editing the SNCC newsletter, The Student Voice, and working in voter registration drives in rural Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Arkansas.
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, receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in English.
Bond was first elected in 1965 to a one-year term in the Georgia House of Representatives in a special election following court-ordered reapportionment of the legislature, but members of the House voted not to seat him because of his outspoken opposition to the war in Vietnam.
Bond won a second election, to fill his vacant seat, in 1966, and again the Georgia House voted to bar him from membership. He won a third election, this time for a two-year term, in November, 1966, and in December the United States Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the Georgia House had violated Bond's rights in refusing him his seat.
He was elected to the State Senate in 1974. When he left office in January 1987, Bond had been elected to public office more times than any other Black Georgian, living or dead.
He had served four terms in the House and six terms in the Senate, ending his tenure only when an unsuccessful congressional race in 1986 prevented him from seeking re-election to the Senate. In the Senate, Bond became the first Black Chair of the Fulton County Senate Delegation, the largest and most diverse in the upper house, and was Chairman of the Committee on Consumer Affairs and a member of the Committees on Human Resources, Governmental Operations, and Children and Youth.
During his service in the Georgia General Assembly, Bond was sponsor or co-sponsor of more than 60 bills which became law, including a pioneer sickle cell anemia testing program, authorization of a minority set-aside program for Fulton County, and a state-wide program providing low-interest home loans to low income Georgians. He waged a successful two-year fight in the legislature and the courts to create a majority black congressional district in Atlanta and organized the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus, then the nation's largest.
In 1968, Bond was Co-Chairman of the Georgia Loyal National Delegation to the Democratic Convention. The Loyalists, an insurgent group, were successful in unseating the hand-picked regulars, and Bond was nominated for Vice-President of the United States, the first Black to be so honored by a major political party. He withdrew his name because he was too young to serve.
He was Chairman of the Premier Automobile Group Diversity Committee (Volvo, Jaguar, Aston-Martin, Land Rover), and serves on the Boards of the American Civil Liberties Union, the Corporation for Maintaining Editorial Diversity in America, the Nicaragua/Honduras Education Project, the Earth Communications Office, the National Federation for Neighborhood Diversity, the Southern Africa Media Center, the Joan Shorenstein Barone Center of the John F. Kennedy School of Government, and the Center for Visionary Thought Advisory Team and on the Advisory Committees of the American Committee on Africa and the Human Rights Defense Fund. Bond has served four terms on the NAACP National Board, and in l998 was elected its Chairman. He is on the Board of the NAACP's Magazine, the Crisis. He was President of the Atlanta NAACP from 1978 until 1989 and served on the Executive Committee of the Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History. He was President of the Institute for Southern Studies, Vice-Chairperson of the National Committee Against Repressive Legislation, and is President Emeritus of the Southern Poverty Law Center.
He is currently a Distinguished Scholar in Residence at the American University in Washington, D.C., and a Professor at the University of Virginia in the Department of History.