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Julian Bond, an African American Civil rights activist and politician, was born on this date in 1940, in Nashville, TN.
His family moved to Pennsylvania, when his father Horace M. Bond was appointed President of Lincoln University. Bond graduated from the George School, a coeducational Quaker school in Bucks County, PA, in 1957, and entered Morehouse College in Atlanta that same year. While at Morehouse, Bond won a varsity letter in swimming. He also helped to found a literary magazine called The Pegasus and was an intern for Time magazine. He was also a member of the only class taught by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
In 1960, Bond was one of several hundred students who helped form the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). Five years later Bond was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives. He was barred from taking his seat in the House because of his outspoken statements against the Vietnam War and his sympathy for those unwilling to serve in the war. In December 1966, the Supreme Court ruled in his favor and he served four terms as representative and six terms in the Georgia Senate, from 1975-86.
During the 1968 presidential election, Bond led a challenge delegation from Georgia to the Democratic National Convention in Chicago where he unexpectedly was nominated as the first African American to be nominated for vice-president of the United States. , He withdrew his name from the ballot, however, because he was too young to serve.
Bond resigned from the Georgia Senate to run in 1987 for the 5th Congressional District, United States House of Representatives, but lost the nomination in a bitter contest with rival civil rights leader John Lewis. (The nomination delivered the seat to Lewis who still serves as congressman.) In the 1980s and 1990s, Bond taught at several universities in major cities of the North and South, including American, Drexel, Harvard, and the University of Virginia.
Since 1998, Bond has served as chairman of the NAACP. In November 2008, he announced that he would not seek another term as chairman. He continued to write and lecture about the history of the civil rights movement and the condition of African Americans and the poor. He was President Emeritus of the Southern Poverty Law Center.
From 1980-1997 he hosted America's Black Forum, and has remained a commentator for the Forum, for radio's Byline, and for NBC's The Today Show. He wrote a nationally syndicated newspaper column Viewpoint, and narrated the critically acclaimed PBS series “Eyes on the Prize” in 1987 and 1990. Bond has been an outspoken supporter of gay and lesbian rights, and famously boycotted the funeral services for Coretta Scott King because the King children had chosen an anti-gay megachurch, in contradiction to their mother's longstanding support for the rights of gay and lesbian people. His positions have pitted elements of the NAACP against religious groups in the Black Civil Rights movement, which oppose gay marriage mostly within the SCLC Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
Bond married Alice Clopton, a student at Spelman College in 1961, and divorced in 1989 after having five children. Bond married Pamela S. Horowitz, an attorney, in 1990. Bond was a Distinguished Adjunct Professor at American University in Washington, D.C. He also was a faculty member in the history department at the University of Virginia, where he teaches history of the Civil Rights Movement.
He wrote several books in addition to a column, including “Black Candidates: Southern Campaign Experiences,” in 1969; “ A Time To Speak, A Time To Act: The Movement in Politics,” in 1972, and “Gonna Sit at the Welcome Table: A Documentary History of the Civil Rights Movement,” (with Andrew Lewis), 1995, and “Lift Every Voice and Sing: A Celebration of the Negro National Anthem, 100 Years, 100 Voices,” (with Sondra Kathryn Wilson, ed.), 2000.
Bond has been awarded 2002 National Freedom Award, an honorary LL.D. from Bates College in 1999, and an honorary degree from George Washington University, where he was the 2008 Commencement Keynote Speaker in 2008, just two among his 25 honorary degrees. Julian Bond was also a Distinguished Scholar in Residence at American University in Washington, D.C., and a faculty member in the history department at the University of Virginia. In 2010 he stepped down from the board of the NAACP, Julian Bond died on August 15th 2015 at the age of 75.
African Americans: Voices of Triumph
by Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr.
Copyright 1993, TimeLife Inc.