With great sadness, I learned today that Julian Bond had passed away yesterday at the age of 75.
I had the pleasure of speaking to Mr. Bond on a couple of occasions, via eamail, several years ago while researching his his grandfather, Dr. James Bond.I have read several of the main stream media reports on Julian Bond’s passing, but no one has mentioned the remarkable linage of the Bond Family. Julian Bond was a remarkable person. His accomplishments were way beyond what I could ever hope to achieve, and those accomplishments were built on the success of his father (Horace Bond) and grandfather’s (James Bond) work. The contribution that this family has made to the fight for racial equality cannot be rivaled. Here is short essay about the Bond family.
James Bond, who was born a slave in 1863 Kentucky, and later graduated from Berea College to become a successful teacher and minister.
James Bond, grandfather of Julian Bond, was an 1892 graduate of Berea and later served as a College Trustee from 1896 – 1914. During his career he was pastor at churches in Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia and was a professor at Fisk University. As financial secretary of Berea he was a principal figure in raising money for Lincoln Institute, a school initiated by Berea College in 1910 after Kentucky’s Day Law denied African Americans the right to attend Berea, and served as Lincoln’s first financial agent when it opened in 1912. His children, including the late Horace Mann Bond, Julian Bond’s father, attended Lincoln Institute. As a Rosenwald Foundation fellow, H. M. Bond conducted research used by the NAACP in the 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education case. Horace Bond went on to earn a doctorate and was a distinguished educator serving as president of two colleges and later as dean of the School of Education at Atlanta University.
Dr. James Bond, a Kentucky champion of education in the latter part of the 19th century, and the early part of the 20th, became a successful teacher and minister. He taught African American soldiers to read and write at Camp Zachary Taylor while working for the YMCA in Louisville.
James Bond was born a slave in Woodford County, Kentucky in the year of 1863 near Lawrenceburg. His mother, Jane Arthur and their family were emancipated two years later at the end of the Civil War.
In 1879, James was enrolled in school in Berea, and in 1886, entered Berea College and graduated in 1892 with a Bachelor of Science degree. He was one of only 2000 African Americans with a college degree in the United States at that time. He also served as a Berea College Trustee from 1896 to 1914.
He later enrolled in Oberlin College in Ohio and studied ministry, graduating with a Bachelors Degree of Divinity in 1895, and his Doctorate from Berea in 1901. He later became the pastor of church in Birmingham, Alabama, and later assumed the position of Pastor at The Howard Congregational Church in Nashville, Tennessee. He then joined the teaching facility as a professor at Fisk Theological Seminary.
While in Nashville, Dr. Bond became an out spoken advocate for the repeal of laws that enforced segregation in the city in the late 1890’s. His work in this endeavor gained him great respect among the African American community in Kentucky and the surrounding states.
In 1906, Dr. Bond returned to Kentucky where he worked as the financial secretary at Berea and was later the main influence behind the creation of the Lincoln Institute, an all African American School built near Shelbyville, Kentucky.
The Lincoln Institute was founded in 1909 due to the “The Day Law”, which was written and directed specifically at Berea College. The interracial college was the target of the times, where in whites focused on removing all the African Americans from the college. The Day Law was upheld by the Supreme Court in 1904, and mandated the segregation of all higher educational institutions.
Dr. Bond and Mr. Kirke Smith joined the campaign to raise the funds necessary to build a new school for the African American students put out by the finding. Dr. Bond and Mr. Smith were instrumental in securing a $200,00.00 grant from the Andrew Carnegie Foundation, and along with contributions from other individuals, they raised the $400,00.00 necessary to start the school.
After many legal battles, and some violence from people opposed to the construction of an all black school in Shelby County, Ky, the construction began in 1911 and the first students were enrolled in October of 1912.
Dr. Bond worked at the Lincoln Institute as the financial director until 1917, when the outbreak of World War 1 took the United States into new territory. Br. Bond had volunteered for the Chaplains Corp, but due to his age (54), he was not accepted for active duty. However his service was far from unneeded. He was offered a position of the Service Director for the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) at Camp Zachary Taylor.
Dr. James Bond at Camp Zachary Taylor 1918
Dr. Bond worked with the United States Army, and through the services provided by the YMCA, which had seven facilities at various places in the camp, he organized and taught literacy and writing classed to African American soldiers. The YMCA Services Program also included counseling, emergency services and recreation for the men stationed there.
After the War ended, Dr. Bond was appointed Kentucky Secretary for the black YMCA’s. He also held the position of Kentucky Director of the Commission on Interracial Cooperation. While working for the YMCA and the state of Kentucky, he traveled throughout the state, helping communities establish and organize programs of interracial communication and cooperation. He held some of the first interracial meetings of white and black citizens where open discussions were held on topics of mutual problems in an interracial setting. Both the Southern Regional Council of Atlanta and the Kentucky Council on Human Relations were based on the work of Dr. Bond and his programs at the YMCA and Commission on Interracial Cooperation.
Dr. Bond’s youngest son, Horace Mann Bond, held a doctorate and was president of two colleges and also served and dean of the School of Education at Atlanta University. Horace M. Bond was also a main contributor to the research of the Supreme Court Case, Brown vs. Board of Education in 1954.
His grandson, Julian Bond was Chairman of the NAACP and a professor at the American University in Washington DC, and at the University of Virginia.
We will miss Julian Bond, and wish to extend our sympathy to the family, along with the gratitude for the contributions your family has made to this nation in the struggle for equality for everyone.