Bates to bestow degree on Julian Bond

Julian Bond, an active participant in the movements for civil rights, economic justice and peace for more than three decades, will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Bates College at noon Wednesday, April 7, in Alumni Gymnasium as part of the college’s annual Founders Day Convocation — a time when the college reflects on the principles that were at its founding and continue to sustain it. The public is invited to attend the convocation without charge.

Bond, chairman of the board of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), a Distinguished Scholar in Residence at American University in Washington, D.C., and professor of history at the University of Virginia, will deliver an address on social justice. Bates President Donald W. Harward also will speak during the convocation ceremony that marks the 144th anniversary of Bates’ founding on April 5, 1855.

While a student at Morehouse College in 1960, Bond was a founder of the Committee on Appeal for Human Rights, the Atlanta University Center student civil-rights organization that directed three years of nonviolent anti segregation protests that achieved integration of Atlanta’s movie theaters, lunch counters and parks. He was arrested for sitting-in at the then segregated cafeteria at Atlanta City Hall.

Elected in 1965 to the Georgia House of Representatives, Bond was prevented from taking his seat by members who objected to his opposition to the Vietnam War. He was re-elected to his own vacant seat, but once again unseated by House objectors. Bond was seated only after a third election and a unanimous decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled the Georgia House had violated his constitutional rights.

Bond was co-chairman of the Georgia Loyal National Delegation to the 1968 Democratic Convention. The Loyalists, an insurgent group, were successful in unseating Georgia’s hand-picked, regular Democratic delegates, and Bond was nominated for vice-president of the United States. He was the first African American to be so honored by a major political party, but he declined the nomination because he was too young to serve.

In the Georgia Senate, Bond became the first black chairman of the Fulton County Delegation, the largest and most diverse delegation in the upper house, and chairman of the Consumer Affairs Committee. During his legislative tenure, he was sponsor or co-sponsor of more than 60 bills that became law. He also was president and founder of the Southern Elections Fund, an early political action committee that aided in the election of rural Southern black candidates.

Bond serves on advisory boards of the Fisk University Race Relations Institute, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Corporation for Maintaining Editorial Diversity in America, the Nicaragua/Honduras Education Project, the National Federation for Neighborhood Diversity and the Southern Africa Media Center among other endeavors to promote civil rights and economic justice.

Bond is the author of Black Candidates — Southern Experiences (Voter Education Project, Southern Regional Council, 1969) and a collection of essays, titled A Time To Speak, A Time To Act (Simon and Schuster, 1972). His poems and articles have appeared in The Nation, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Hartford Courant, Atlanta Constitution and Life magazine.

Bond’s teaching experience includes being a Pappas Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania and a visiting professor at Drexel University, Harvard University and Williams College.

View Comments