Julian Bond

Julian Bond was on the cutting edge of social change from 1960 until he passed away on August 15, 2015. He was an activist who has faced jail for his convictions, a veteran of more than 20 years service in the Georgia General Assembly, a university professor and a writer

Horace Julian Bond was born in Nashville, Tennessee on January 14, 1940. Bond and his family moved when he was five to Pennsylvania, when his father, Dr. Horace Mann Bond, was selected as the first African-American president of Lincoln University, his alma mater. Bond first studied at George School, a private Quaker preparatory boarding school near Newtown, Pennsylvania.

Julian Bond attended Morehouse College in Atlanta, where he co-founded the Committee on Appeal for Human Rights and the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). As a member of SNCC, Bond also took part in voter registration drives in Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Arkansas.

Active at Morehouse, Julian Bond was a member of the varsity swimming team, and one of the founding members of a literary magazine called The Pegasus. While in college he also interned at Time magazine. Bond left Morehouse in 1961 and returned to complete his BA in English in 1971 at age 31. With Morris Dees, Bond helped found the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a public-interest law firm based in Montgomery, Alabama.

In 1961 Bond joined the staff of the Atlanta Inquirer and was elected to the Georgia State Assembly four years later. But the Assembly refused to seat Bond, citing his endorsement of a SNCC directive that urged young black men to illegally avoid the military draft. A second election, and then a third, yielded the same result, and in 1967 the U.S. Supreme Court, for the first time in American history, overruled a state legislature’s right to establish and maintain its own qualifications for seating members.

During the 1968 Presidential election, Julian Bond led a challenge delegation from Georgia to the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. Here, unexpectedly and contrary to his intention, he became the first African American to be proposed as a major-party candidate for Vice President of the United States. While expressing gratitude for the honor, the 28-year-old Bond quickly declined, citing the constitutional requirement that one must be at least 35 years of age to serve in that office.

In 1980 Bond began hosting America’s Black Forum, the oldest black owned show in television syndication; he remains a commentator on the program to this day. He also has narrated a number of documentaries, including Eyes on the Prize, PBS’s award-winning production about the civil rights movement, and he has lectured at the Institute for Policy Studies.

Julian Bond resigned from the Georgia Senate in 1987 to run for the United States House of Representatives from Georgia's 5th congressional district. He lost the Democratic nomination in a runoff to rival civil rights leader John Lewis in a bitter contest, in which Bond was accused of using cocaine and other drugs. As the 5th district had a huge Democratic majority, the nomination delivered the seat to Lewis who still serves as congressman.

In 1998, Bond was selected to chair the NAACP, which had recently been rocked by scandals involving former Executive Director Benjamin Chavis, Jr. and Board member Hazel Dukes. He continues to write and lecture about the history of the civil rights movement and the condition of African Americans and the poor. He is President Emeritus of the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Click on the links below for detailed information and photos on polilcical leaders in Black history in the United States


The first black judge to have been appointed by the president to the federal bench was William Henry Hastie, whom Franklin Delano Roosevelt named as a district court judge for the U.S. Virgin Islands in 1937.

The White House

In 2008 Barack Obama became the first African-American to win the presidency. He served for two terms.


The 49 African-American members of Congress form the Congressional Black Caucus, which serves as a political bloc for issues relating to African Americans.


To date, ten African Americans have served in the United States Senate. In 1870, Hiram Revels of Mississippi became the first African American senator.

Mayors, Governors, Lt. Govenors

In 2001 there were 484 black mayors but that number is in decline. In 2000, nine of the nation’s 25 largest cities had black mayors. Today, just four do.

White House appointed positions

The appointments of Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice as Secretary of State made them the highest-ranking African Americans in the United States presidential line of succession


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Listen or read the top speeches from African Americans. Read more


Read about the great African Americans who fought in wars. Read more


African Americans invented many of the things we use today. Read more


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Follow the history of Black Americans from slave ships to the presidency. Read more


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Civil Rights Activists

These men and women risked and sometimes lost their life to fight for the cause. Read more


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