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Oral History Interview with Julian Bond, November 1 and 22, 1999. Interview R-0345. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007).
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  • Abstract
    As the son of Lincoln University president Horace Mann Bond, Julian Bond came into contact with black thinkers, musicians, and artists. The historically black Lincoln had served as a haven for black intelligentsia, but it also protected Bond from the pains of white racism. His parents sent him to a Quaker private school, where Bond learned pacifist principles. Upon graduating, Bond decided to attend Morehouse University in Atlanta, Georgia. There he became active in the civil rights movement while working on a local black newspaper. In his work with the newspaper, Bond witnessed whites' and black elites' opposition to the push for rapid racial change. The swelling protests among southern blacks, especially college students, piqued Bond's interest. His fervor led him to drop out of school, much to his parents' chagrin. Bond describes his involvement with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and his connection with other activists, including Ella Baker, Martin Luther King Jr., Bayard Rustin, John Lewis, Fannie Lou Hamer, Bob Moses, and Stokely Carmichael. The grassroots training experiences he gained working with local activists in Atlanta prepared him for voter registration organizing in rural southern counties. Bond explains the ideological tensions between SNCC and older civil rights activist groups. Many older activists, Bond argues, rejected younger blacks' radicalism as moving too fast, too soon. He discusses the growing internal divide that led to a black power camp and an integrationist camp within SNCC brought about by the inclusion of white Freedom Summer workers. Bond discusses his three successful bids for the Georgia House of Representatives and that body's refusal to seat him in 1966. In 1968, he formed a black challenge delegation to Georgia's all-white pro-segregation Democratic delegation at the Chicago convention. In the 1980s, Bond protested apartheid by boycotting stores that sold South African items.
    Excerpts
  • A childhood incident developed Bond's racial identity
  • Bond's residence at Lincoln University opened avenues to black scholars and larger issues, but detached him from the outside world
  • A Quaker school exposed Bond to pacifist ideas
  • Bond's fears of southern violence subsided when confronted with a segregated, but sophisticated Atlanta
  • Bond's growing activism with the civil rights movement
  • Tensions among civil rights organizations
  • Ella Baker and Fannie Lou Hamer exemplified SNCC's democratic mission
  • Bond's trip to Guinea broadened his perspective on African-U.S. black relations
  • The perils of organizing and the growing divide among SNCC activists
  • Racism embedded in Georgia's politics
  • Bond's campaign tactics as a state legislative candidate and the barriers that prevented him from fulfilling his term
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  • Finding aid to the Southern Oral History Program Collection
  • Database of all Southern Oral History Program Collection interviews
  • The Southern Oral History Program transcripts presented here on Documenting the American South undergo an editorial process to remove transcription errors. Texts may differ from the original transcripts held by the Southern Historical Collection.

    Funding from the Institute for Museum and Library Services supported the electronic publication of this title.