Horace Julian Bond was a civil rights activist and politician. He was born in Nashville, Tennessee, on January 14, 1940 to Julia Agnes and Horace Mann Bond. His father was a respected professor who later became the first black president of Lincoln University and later the president of Atlanta University. His mother used to work as a librarian. Julian’s parents were friends with many famous literary figures of the time, including W. E. B. Du Bois and Paul Robeson. Bond Sr. was a respected educator, noted for his protests against racial segregation and discrimination. Julian studied at a mixed race school as a child, and was a bright and capable student. He won the award for being the brightest student in his class. He then attended a private boarding school in Pennsylvania.
After high school, Julian enrolled at Morehouse College in Atlanta in 1957. He took an active part in civil rights demonstrations at college, and was soon named the coordinator and spokesman for civil rights demonstrations. He also started a student organization by the name of the Committee on Appeal for Human Rights. In 1960, while attending a meeting of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) organized by Ella Baker, Julian, along with some fellow students, was motivated enough to form their own student organization by the name of Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). The SCLC was headed by Martin Luther King Jr., and the SNCC worked hand in hand with them. Julian was the communications director of this organization, and he worked with them from 1960 to 1966. He then dropped out of college, but later returned to finish his degree in 1971.
After leaving college, Julian Bond was persuaded by many of his followers to run for government office. This was a time when very few blacks held positions of power, so Julian was initially reluctant to do so. He campaigned by personally visiting voters in their homes and won a seat in the Georgia House of Representatives. However, his fellow legislators voted to keep him out of the House due to his stance against the Vietnam War. A Supreme Court ruling against the House’s decision almost a year later, allowed him to officially take his seat in the House. During his time in government, Julian supported the advancement of African Americans by pursuing many issues such as welfare laws, minimum wage laws, the death penalty, anti-poverty laws and civil rights laws.
Julian served in the Georgia House of Representatives from 1967 to 1974. After this, he was elected to the Georgia Senate, for a total of six terms, from 1975 to 1987. In 1968, he became the first African American to be nominated as a major party candidate for the Vice President of the United States. However, Julian was then only 28 years old, and he refused to run based on the minimum age requirement of being at least 35 years of age. After his term in Senate ended, Julian turned towards education, and became a visiting professor for several universities, including Harvard University and the University of Virginia. He also narrated a documentary about the Civil Rights Movement, and wrote several articles and newspaper columns on the subject. He also served as the President of the NAACP from 1990 till the end of his life. His personal life has been a subject of controversy, as his wife accused him of adultery and cocaine usage. He died on August 15, 2015 at the age of 75.