If you are not a historical connoisseur or civil rights aficionado, then it is easy gloss over the brilliance and contributions of the late, legendary Julian Bond to the cause of human and civil advocacy in America. The co-founder of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and first black man to be nominated as U.S. Vice President is too often conspicuously omitted from the discussions of that turbulent yet fruitful era known as the Civil Rights Movement.
Morehouse College will not allow America to forget.
Bond, a 1971 graduate of Morehouse College, will receive his proper and just farewell ceremony at the school that launched his illustrious career and helped propel him on an uninterrupted trajectory to transcendent greatness.
Morehouse College will host a farewell tribute to one of its favorite sons, H. Julian Bond on Sunday, October 25, 2015 at 5:30 P.M. in the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel. Dr. Lawrence Edward Carter Sr., dean of the MLK Chapel, will preside.
Speakers for the occasion include Morehouse College President John Silvanus Wilson Jr. ’79; Robert M. Franklin ’75, president emeritus of Morehouse College and professor at the Candler School of Theology at Emory University; former Georgia Governor Roy Barnes; Georgia Congressman John Lewis; veteran journalist Charlayne Hunter-Gault; former Atlanta City Councilwoman Carolyn Long Banks; and a selection of peers, close friends and family members. The service is open to the public and an Atlanta University Center Combined Chorus will provide music.
Horace Julian Bond, known to most as Julian, was born in Nashville, Tenn. to Julia Agnes Washington, a librarian, and Horace Mann Bond, president of Fort Valley State College (GA). Bond’s family moved to Pennsylvania when he was five years old where his father became the first African American president of Lincoln University (PA), his alma mater.
Bond graduated from the Georgia School, a Quaker preparatory boarding high school. He attended Morehouse College in Atlanta and won a varsity letter for swimming. He also founded a literary magazine called The Pegasus and served as an intern at Time magazine. While a student at Morehouse, Bond helped found the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), traveling throughout the south to organize voting registration.
As a founding member of SNCC, he served as communications director from 1961 to 1966. From 1960 to 1963, he led student protests against segregation in public facilities in Atlanta and Georgia. Bond graduated from Morehouse in 1971 receiving a degree in English; returning to the campus to complete his course work after a short break to follow his heart in hands-on civil rights activism.
“Nobody did it better than my father,” says Michael Julian Bond, Atlanta City Councilman. “He was a young charismatic civil rights activist who became one of this nation’s most treasured statesmen. Many Atlantans have expressed their affection and appreciation for Julian Bond to our family. He loved this city and its people; this was his home.”
After his election to the Georgia House of Representatives in 1965, most of the white members of the House refused to seat him because of his opposition to the Vietnam War. However, in 1966, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the House had denied Bond his freedom of speech and had to seat him. From 1965 to 1975, he served in the Georgia House and served six terms in the Georgia Senate from 1975 to 1986.
In 1968, Bond led a challenge delegation from Georgia to the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, and was the first African-American nominated as Vice President of the United States. He withdrew his name from the ballot because he was too young to serve. Bond ran for the United States House of Representatives, but lost to civil rights leader John Lewis.
He served as the president of the president of the Atlanta Chapter of the NAACP, and was later elected Board Chairman of the NAACP in 1998. “From his days as a young activist to his years as both an elder statesman and NAACP Chairman Emeritus, Julian Bond inspired a generation of civil rights leaders,” said NAACP Chairman Roslyn M. Brock. “From my days as a youth board member of the NAACP to my present tenure as NAACP Chairman, like so many of my generation and before, I am yet inspired by the depth and breadth of Chairman Emeritus Bond’s exemplary service: activist, writer, historian, professor, public intellectual, public servant and an unrelentingly eloquent voice for the voiceless. Many of the most characteristically American freedoms enjoyed by so many Americans today were made real because of the lifelong sacrifice and service of Julian Bond.”
As one of the organizers of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), Bond became the first president of (SPLC) from 1971 through 1979, and served on its board of directors for the remainder of his life. “This country has lost one of its most passionate and eloquent voices for the cause of justice,” said Morris Dees, SPLC founder. “Julian advocated not just for African Americans, but for every group and every person subject to oppression and discrimination because he recognized the common humanity in us all.”
In the 1980s and ‘90s, Bond taught at several universities, including American, Drexel, Williams, the University of Pennsylvania, Harvard, and the University of Virginia. It was a SPLC report that revealed most states were not teaching about the civil rights movement – a problem that Julian sought to correct. Julian himself is quoted as saying, “At the University of Virginia, my students are often outraged to learn that they have never been taught about events in their own hometowns” says Dees about Bond.
The National Freedom Award was given to Bond from the National Civil Rights Museum in 2002; he received the Spingarn Medal from the NAACP in 2009; he was awarded twenty-five honorary degrees, and a host of awards from organizations throughout the USA. His bibliography includes four books to his credit; he wrote a nationally syndicated column entitled“Viewpoint;” and many of his poems and articles have appeared in national newspapers and magazines.
Following Bond’s transition, letters and tributes poured in from friends, journalists, political and civil rights leaders who were lamenting the death of this iconic man of the movement. Statements came from John Lewis, who said, “Julian was so smart, so gifted, and so talented . . . He was deeply committed to make our country a better country.” President Obama referred to Julian as a “hero who helped change the country for the better.”
Julian’s family scattered his ashes to the sea after his untimely death on August 15, at the age of 75. The entire world will miss Julian Bond. He leaves behind his wife, Pamela Sue Horowitz; his children, born to Julian and Alice Clopton Bond, his former wife, include Phyllis Jane Bond-McMillian, Horace Mann Bond II, Michael Julian Bond, Jeffrey Alvin Bond, and Julia “Cookie” Louise Bond; eight (8) grandchildren; his sister and brother-in-law, Jane Bond Moore and Howard Moore; his brother, James Bond (a former Atlanta City Councilman); and a host of cousins and beloved friends.