Remembering Julian Bond (1940-2015)

Posted in Articles, Biography, History, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2016-01-17 01:07Z by Steven

Remembering Julian Bond (1940-2015)


Josh Zeitz


For many Americans, Julian Bond, who died in August at age 75, was quite literally the voice of the modern civil rights movement. In the early 1960s, when he served as communications director for the Student Non Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), and in later years, as a prominent author, university lecturer and narrator of the acclaimed PBS documentary Eyes on the Prize, he embodied the dignity and righteousness of the black freedom struggle. “Justice and equality was the mission that spanned his life,” President Obama said in the wake of his passing. “Julian Bond helped change this country for the better. And what better way to be remembered than that.”

The son of Horace Mann Bond, an acclaimed black educator who earned his Ph.D. at the University of Chicago, Julian grew up in middle-class comfort and respectability in southeast Pennsylvania, where his father served for more than a decade as president of Lincoln University, a historically black college. A virtual who’s-who of American intelligentsia passed through the door of his childhood home. As a young boy, he sat in Paul Robeson’s lap as the famed activist and baritone sang a Russian folk song for the family. He met W.E.B. DuBois and Albert Einstein. As an adult, he still recalled the excitement of a visit from Walter White, the executive secretary of the NAACP. “When he pulled up to our house, he was in a big, black shiny car escorted by two Pennsylvania state troopers on motorcycles with big leather boots,” Bond later told an interviewer, “I thought, boy, this is an important guy. This guy’s really something.”

Bond, who attended high school at an integrated Quaker institution in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, knew little of segregation growing up. He was only four or five years old the first time he learned there was “some category of people I belonged to,” as he recalled in an oral history many decades after the fact. Walking with his parents through the train station in Nashville, where they had arrived for a visit with extended family, “a policeman came up to my mother and said, ‘Niggers aren’t allowed here.’ She said, ‘Are you calling me a nigger?’ I don’t know if it was because she was very fair skinned and might have been white, although she didn’t appear white to me, or if it was her manner with the policeman. He was just taken aback. He didn’t say anything else, and we just kept on going.”…

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Julian Bond, Former N.A.A.C.P. Chairman and Civil Rights Leader, Dies at 75

Posted in Articles, Biography, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2015-08-17 01:58Z by Steven

Julian Bond, Former N.A.A.C.P. Chairman and Civil Rights Leader, Dies at 75

The New York Times

Roy Reed

Julian Bond, a charismatic figure of the 1960s civil rights movement, a lightning rod of the anti-Vietnam War campaign and a lifelong champion of equal rights for minorities, notably as chairman of the N.A.A.C.P., died on Saturday night in Fort Walton Beach, Fla. He was 75.

He died after a brief illness, the Southern Poverty Law Center said in a statement Sunday morning.

Mr. Bond was one of the original leaders of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee while he was a student at Morehouse College in Atlanta. He was the committee’s communications director for five years and deftly guided the national news media toward stories of violence and discrimination as the committee challenged legal segregation in the South’s public facilities.

He gradually moved from the militancy of the student group to the top leadership of the establishmentarian N.A.A.C.P. Along the way, Mr. Bond was a writer, poet, television commentator, lecturer and college teacher, and a persistent opponent of the stubborn remnants of white supremacy…

…Horace Julian Bond was born Jan. 14, 1940, in Nashville, to Horace Mann Bond and the former Julia Washington. The family moved to Pennsylvania five years later, when Mr. Bond’s father became the first African-American president of his alma mater, Lincoln University.

Julian Bond’s great-grandmother Jane Bond was the slave mistress of a Kentucky farmer. Julian’s grandfather James Bond, one of Jane Bond’s sons, was educated at Berea and Oberlin Colleges and became a clergyman. His son Horace Mann Bond expected his own son Julian to follow in his footsteps as an educator, but the young man was attracted instead to journalism and political activism…

Read the entire obituary here.

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