Geographic Connection to Pennsylvania: Lincoln University, Chester County
Currently Chairman of the Board of the NAACP, former Georgia State Senator Julian Bond spent his early years in Chester County.
Awards: Academy Award
Born in Tennessee, Julian Bond attended Morehouse College, where he started a career in civil rights. He is known for serving in the Georgia House of Representatives, the Senate, and the NAACP. He has narrated various documentaries, including the Academy Award-winning A Time for Justice. He received the National Freedom Award in 2002. Currently he is a professor at the University of Virginia and American University and is Chairman of the Board of the NAACP.
Julian Bond was born on January 14, 1940, in Nashville, Tennessee. At an early age, his family moved to Chester County, Pennsylvania, so his father, Horace Mann Bond, could be the first African-American president at Lincoln University. In 1957, after graduating from the George School, he decided to attend college in Atlanta, Georgia, at Morehouse College. It was during this time at Morehouse that his interest was sparked in civil rights for minorities.
During his time at Morehouse College, he founded the Atlanta student sit-in and anti-segregation organization, as well as the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). These groups brought public attention to the practice of segregation, as well as discrimination, of minority groups throughout the United States. In 1961, Bond left Morehouse College (one semester short of graduating) in order to work for a new protest newspaper called the Atlanta Inquirer, in which he served as the paper's managing editor. He later returned to Morehouse College in 1971, completed his remaining semester, and graduated with a B.A. in English.
After leaving Morehouse College, he decided to focus on a life of politics and, in 1965, ran for a seat in the Georgia House of Representatives. His election campaign proved successful; however, the members of the house refused to seat him because of his outspoken opposition to the Vietnam War. Since he was not seated, he campaigned for the next two elections and won his vacant seat each time. Even after winning the election for a chair in the House of Representatives three times, he was still not seated. Only after the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the Georgia House had violated his rights in refusing to seat him, was he able to finally serve his state. During his time serving the House, he was successful in unseating many of Georgia's "regular Democrats." It was during this time that he was also nominated for Vice President of the United States; however, he had to decline since he was not old enough.
In 1974, after serving in the House of Representatives, he was elected to serve the State Senate. This started a career that lasted until 1987, when an unsuccessful congressional race prevented him from seeking re-election. Throughout his career on the Senate, he was elected more times that any other African-American from Georgia.
Since leaving his life of politics, he has narrated various documentaries, including A Time for Justice, which won an Academy Award, and Eyes on the Prize. These documentaries were a collection of various poetry and essays written by Bond that talk about his experiences while campaigning in the South. These experiences can also be found published under the title A Time to Speak, A Time to Act.
Currently, Bond resides in the Washington, DC, area and is a professor at American University, as well as the University of Virginia. In addition to being a professor, he also serves as Chairman of the Board for the NAACP. His term started in 1998 and, as of 2005, is still currently active. In 2002, his contributions to the civil rights of African-Americans were recognized when he received the National Freedom Award.
A Time to Speak, A Time to Act. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1972.
Eyes on the Prize. Dir. Henry Hampton. Blackside Inc., 1987.
A Time for Justice. Guggenheim Productions, 1994.
Dreifus, Claudia. "The Progressive Interview: Julian Bond." The Progressive (August 1998): 32-34.