Julian Bond, civil
Rights Activist and leader, is gone
Kobina "boyo" Annan,
August 17, 2015
Julian Bond has left
his memories and legacy with us. He left to join
the ancestors this weekend.
Horace Julian Bond,
born on January 14, 1940 and known as Julian
Bond, was an American social activist and
leader, politician, professor, and writer in the
Civil Rights Movement.
The African- American Civil Rights Movement, of
which he was a prominent activist, encompassed
social movements in the United States whose
goals were to end racial segregation and
discrimination against black Americans and to
secure legal recognition and federal protection
of the citizenship rights enumerated in the
Constitution and federal law.
The movement was
characterized by major campaigns of civil
resistance. Between 1955 and 1968, acts of
nonviolent protest and civil disobedience
produced crisis situations and productive
dialogues between activists and government
authorities. Federal, state, and local
governments, businesses, and local governments,
businesses, and communities, often had to
respond immediately to these situations that
highlighted the inequalities faced by African
Americans. Many African and African American
leaders strived to shed light on the injustices
being forced on black people and the culture of
Bond was born at Hubbard Hospital in Nashville,
Tennessee , to parents Julia Agnes (Washington)
and Horace Mann Bond . His father was an
educator, former president of Lincoln University
His mother, Julia, was a former librarian at
Clark Atlanta University . At the time, the
family resided on campus at Fort Valley State
College , where Horace was president. The house
of the Bonds was a frequent stop for scholars
and activists and celebrities passing by, such
as W. E. B. Du Bois and Paul Robeson .
In 1945 his father
was offered the position as the first
African-American president of Lincoln University
, and the family moved North. In 1957, Bond
graduated from George School , a private Quaker
preparatory boarding school near Newtown in
Bucks County , Pennsylvania.
During the early 1960s, he helped to establish
the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).
Bond was elected to four terms in the Georgia
House of Representatives and later to six terms
in the Georgia Senate , having served a combined
twenty years in both legislative chambers.
From 1998 to 2010,
he was chairman of the National Association for
the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and
the first president of the Southern Poverty Law
He served as the communications director of SNCC
from January 1961 to September 1966, when he
traveled around Georgia , Alabama, Mississippi ,
and Arkansas to help organize civil rights and
voter registration drives.
Bond left Morehouse
College in 1961 to work on civil rights in the
South. From 1960 to 1963, he led student
protests against segregation in public
facilities and the Jim Crow laws of Georgia. He
returned in 1971 at age 31 to complete his
Bachelor of Arts in English. With Morris Dees ,
Bond helped found the Southern Poverty Law
Center (SPLC), a public-interest law firm based
in Montgomery, Alabama.
Bond became the
first president of the Southern Poverty Law
Center in 1971. He served until 1979, remaining
a board member and president emeritus for the
rest of his life.
In 1965, Bond was one of eleven African
Americans elected to the Georgia House of
Representatives after passage of the Civil
Rights Act and Voting Rights Act of 1965 had
opened voter registration to blacks. By ending
the disfranchisement of blacks through
discriminatory voter registration, African
Americans regained the ability to vote and
entered the political process.
Bond ultimately ran and was elected as a
Democrat , the party of President Lyndon B.
Johnson, who had signed the Civil Rights Act and
Voting Rights Act. From 1967 to 1975, Bond was
elected to four terms in the Georgia House,
where he organized the Georgia Legislative Black
In January 1967, Bond was among eleven House
members who refused to vote when the legislature
elected segregationist Lester Maddox of Atlanta
as governor of Georgia over the Republican
Howard Callaway . Callaway had led in the 1966
general election by some three thousand votes.
The choice fell on state lawmakers under the
Georgia Constitution of 1824 because neither
major party candidate had polled a majority in
the general election. Former Governor Ellis
Arnal polled more than fifty thousand votes as a
write-in candidate, a factor which led to the
impasse. Bond would not support either Maddox or
Callaway, although he was ordered to vote by
Governor Peter Zack Geer.
In 1998, Bond was selected as chairman of the
NAACP. Bond was an outspoken supporter of the
rights of gays and lesbians. He has publicly
stated his support for same-sex marriage .
Bond hosted Saturday Night Live(SNL) on April 9,
1977, becoming the first black political figure
to host the show. The famous segment from this
appearance is the "Black Perspective" skit with
then-SNL cast member Garrett Morris . Bond
explained perceptions of white and black IQ
differences by noting, tongue-in-cheek, the
"fact" that "light-skinned blacks are smarter
than dark-skinned blacks."
In 1978, Bond played himself in the miniseries
King. also had a small appearance in the movie
From 1980 to 1997, Bond hosted America's Black
Forum. He remained a commentator for the Forum,
as well as radio's Byline, and for NBC 's The
Today Show. He authored the nationally
syndicated newspaper column Viewpoint. He
narrated the critically acclaimed PBS series
Eyes on the Prize in 1987 and 1990.
After leaving politics, Bond taught at several
universities in major cities in the North and
South, including American, Drexel, Harvard, and
the University of Virginia, where he taught
Bond died on August 15, 2015, after a brief
undisclosed illness, in Fort Walton Beach,
Florida , aged 75. survived by his wife, Pamela
Horowitz, a former SPLC staff attorney, his five
children, a brother and a sister. Bond was an
Emeritus member of the Southern Poverty Law
Center Board of Directors at his death.
Kobina "boyo" Annan,
August 17, 2015