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Title: Oral History Interview with Julian Bond, November 1 and 22, 1999. Interview R-0345. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Electronic Edition.
Author: Bond, Julian, interviewee
Interview conducted by Gritter, Elizabeth
Funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services supported the electronic publication of this interview.
Text encoded by Jennifer Joyner
Sound recordings digitized by Aaron Smithers Southern Folklife Collection
First edition, 2007
Size of electronic edition: 164 Kb
Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
2007.
© This work is the property of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It may be used freely by individuals for research, teaching and personal use as long as this statement of availability is included in the text.
The electronic edition is a part of the UNC-Chapel Hill digital library, Documenting the American South.
Languages used in the text: English
Revision history:
2007-00-00, Celine Noel, Wanda Gunther, and Kristin Martin revised TEIHeader and created catalog record for the electronic edition.
2007-11-06, Jennifer Joyner finished TEI-conformant encoding and final proofing.
Source(s):
Title of recording: Oral History Interview with Julian Bond, November 1 and 22, 1999. Interview R-0345. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series R. Special Research Projects. Southern Oral History Program Collection (R-0345)
Author: Elizabeth Gritter
Title of transcript: Oral History Interview with Julian Bond, November 1 and 22, 1999. Interview R-0345. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series R. Special Research Projects. Southern Oral History Program Collection (R-0345)
Author: Julian Bond
Description: 159 Mb
Description: 47 p.
Note: Interview conducted on November 1 and 22, 1999, by Elizabeth Gritter; recorded in Washington, D.C.
Note: Transcribed by Elizabeth Gritter and Laura Altizer.
Note: Forms part of: Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Series R. Special Research Projects, Manuscripts Department, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Note: Original transcript on deposit at the Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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The text has been entered using double-keying and verified against the original.
The text has been encoded using the recommendations for Level 4 of the TEI in Libraries Guidelines.
Original grammar and spelling have been preserved.
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Interview with Julian Bond, November 1 and 22, 1999.
Interview R-0345. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Bond, Julian, interviewee


Interview Participants

    JULIAN BOND, interviewee
    ELIZABETH GRITTER, interviewer

[TAPE 1, SIDE A]


Page 1
[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
I was wondering. I remember with the class you said that we should ask our parents about when their moment of like racial consciousness was. I was wondering when that moment was for you?
JULIAN BOND:
I don't know if this is the first moment of racial consciousness, but I remember this moment. I can't remember how old I was, but probably four or five. I had been some place on the train with my mother, and we were walking through the Nashville train station. We were walking through the white section of the Nashville train station, and a man, a policeman, came up to my mother and said, "Niggers aren't allowed here." She said, "Are you calling me a nigger?" I don't know if it was because she was very fair skinned and might have been white, although she didn't appear white to me, or if it was her manner with the policeman. He was just taken aback. He didn't say anything else, and we just kept on going. That was the first memory I have of there being some category of people I belonged to. Before then, I thought I was just a boy. But after that, I knew that I belonged to this category, and there was something connected with it. So that's my first memory.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
Do you remember much about your time in Nashville?
JULIAN BOND:
Well I never lived in Nashville. My mother was from Nashville, and so we spent a lot of time there because her mother and her grandmother lived there, grandparents lived there. So we spent a lot of time there in the summers. It was kids stuff. I remember going to Bible school, which I hated. My grandmother had been married to a man who was a florist, fairly well-to-do. So they had a big house with a big lawn, big yard, and a goldfish pond shaped like a figure eight. I remember being crazy about that. The place was big enough so they had a guy hired to mow the lawn. He

Page 2
was always finding marbles, and he would give me the marbles. So I remember that. That's the, those are the only—. Yeah, I do. Also, my step—I can't remember the relationship with this man, I think he was my godfather—was a druggist and he owned a drugstore. He would let the employees make all these fabulous concoctions. Super sundaes with all kinds of chocolate syrup and ice cream. Price's Drugstore. So I remember that.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
Where did you live before Pennsylvania?
JULIAN BOND:
For the first five years of my life, I lived at Fort Valley, Georgia, which is a small town near Macon. It is the home of Fort Valley State College. My father was the president of the college. So I grew up there. Spent the first five years there.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
You mentioned Bible school. Did you grow up going to church?
JULIAN BOND:
Yes, but I don't have any memories of it. I don't think I cared for it particularly. The idea of sitting still for an hour or more and having some guy say something to you, and then people got up and sang songs, which I didn't know or didn't understand. I didn't enjoy the experience. When we moved to Pennsylvania when I was five, my father was also the president of the college, and we lived next door to the church. We had to go to church. [Laughter] He was the president. People expected him to go to church. So I remember going there, and I also remember not liking it. Just not caring for it. Dressing up, confinement. I was not a bad kid, but I just couldn't sit still for an hour. I didn't like it.

Page 3
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
I know your father was a prominent educator. I was wondering how your childhood differed or how that influenced your childhood, made it different?
JULIAN BOND:
Well, what it meant was that in this small world of the college campus, my father was the most important person. He was the president. He was in charge. So everybody worked for him. I didn't get the sense that I was therefore important, but I knew he was important. I knew that other people deferred to him in this little world, this small world. Very much like American University. A campus not much bigger than American University's campus. But it also meant that I had this world as my playground. This was a men's college when I was there; it's co-ed now. But I had the run of the gym. I had the run of the dormitories in the summertime when the students were gone. I was in and out of the rooms. I could play with the stuff they left behind when they went away for the summer. They just took their clothes and books, and everything else was trashed and left behind. There was a barbershop on the campus where I got my hair cut. It was growing up in this self-contained world where you were protected from all of the outside world. It was as if you lived only at American University and never went to Washington. It's this closed world, and a very pleasant world because everybody's nice, everybody's friendly. Not very many other children. The family lived next door—the man was the dean, and he had two daughters—one older, one my age. There was another dean who had three children—an older daughter, a son my age, and a younger son. There were kids in the village nearby, but it was far enough away so that I went to school with them, but they weren't playmates. They were too far away to be playmates. So I had a fairly small circle of playmates. Probably just enough

Page 4
to field one baseball team. We didn't have anybody we could play against. [interruption]
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
Alright.
JULIAN BOND:
Where were we?
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
Not many playmates. You were—.
JULIAN BOND:
Not many playmates but I had, I think, a normal childhood. I played games. I played cowboys. I played in the snow. I did all those things.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
There weren't as many playmates but with the ones that were there you just did things. So your house was right on campus?
JULIAN BOND:
Yes, it was the biggest house on campus. It was the president's house.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
Also I remember when your mother came and spoke to class. She was talking about all the figures that she met that came through the campus. I was wondering what ones you met?
JULIAN BOND:
Well, you have to remember that at that time, almost every prominent black person who made speeches or went around would come to a place like Lincoln University. They wouldn't go to the University of Pennsylvania or Penn State. Nobody would invite them there. So they came to Lincoln. They came to black colleges. Lincoln was one of the most prominent. So I saw Walter White, who was head of the NAACP. I saw Paul Robeson, the great singer. I have picture of me sitting on his knee while he sings to me. Earlier when we lived at Fort Valley, I have a picture of myself with Dr. DuBois. So sort of a "who's who" in black America came by this campus. Singers, civil rights figures, prominent personalities, almost anybody and everybody

Page 5
came to Lincoln University. I said we lived next door to the church. The church had both an auditorium and a regular church, you know a regular—.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
Sanctuary.
JULIAN BOND:
Sanctuary. Yes, that's what they called it. Sanctuary. These people would speak either in the auditorium or in the sanctuary. It was just great because it was like living entertainment at least once a month, maybe once a week on Friday or Saturday nights right next door to your house. So you got dressed up—and I didn't mind that. I went over next door, and Paul Robeson would sing to you. Then after it was over, there would be a reception at our house. I'd run around, get in my mother's way with my brother and sister. So it was fabulous.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
Are there any ones you remember in particular, that stand out in your memory?
JULIAN BOND:
Well, I remember Robeson, probably because I have this picture to remind me. The picture is I'm sitting on his lap, and my sister and the young woman from next door are standing behind us. He's singing a song. I remember the song. It was called "Four Insurgent Generals." It's a Russian folk song. He had this deep voice, and that voice vibrated through me. I can remember that he's singing in my ear while the picture is being taken. It's a fabulous experience. I can remember that. I don't remember these other people. I remember when Walter White came. Walter White was the head of the NAACP for many, many years, and he was extremely fair skinned. He looked white. But I knew he was a black guy. When he pulled up to our house, he was in a big, black shiny car escorted by two Pennsylvania state troopers on motorcycles with big leather boots. I thought, boy, this is an important guy. This guy's really

Page 6
something. So that was impressive to me as a kid. Other figures came through, but I don't remember their names.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
What effect did this have on your life, all these famous figures?
JULIAN BOND:
Well, I think it opened me up to a world outside of this narrow, campus world. Of course, living in my parents' house, my father and mother were educated, sophisticated people. They opened my world up far beyond the normal world of, I think, a black kid growing up in the '40s and '50s. But being on this campus opened my world up and exposed me to people and to things and events, all kinds of things that I never would've seen. Albert Einstein. I met Albert Einstein. I have no memory of this, but my parents told me about it. So I've come to remember it.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
Then you went to a Quaker School. [unclear] A little bit in Pennsylvania. I was wondering how that influenced your views of that school? I know the Quakers are pacifists.
JULIAN BOND:
Yes, well the first thing to remember is that I was living in a community where they had one-room schools. They were segregated when we got there. Black school on this side of the street, white school on this side of the street. My parents filed a lawsuit. They closed this school, and all the black kids come over here. So I went to one-room schools until I went to high school. Before I went to high school, I never went to a school with an indoor toilet. I went to schools with outhouses. The local high school was, I think it was called, the Lower Oxford Township Consolidated High School. It just couldn't have been a very good school. Small, Pennsylvania town, just couldn't have been a very good school. So my parents wanted me to get a better education. So

Page 7
they had already sent my sister, who is older, to a prep school in Massachusetts. I don't know if it was I didn't want to go so far away, or what it was, but anyway, they chose this school near Philadelphia called the George School, a co-ed Quaker school, and I went to school there. It was a wonderful school. It was far superior to the kind of education I could've gotten at a public school. It was small. It was intimate. It was a Quaker school, and it exposed me to Quakerism and to nonviolence in a way that never would've happened had I gone to a public [school]. So it gave me an early introduction into nonviolence. Now I have to say I never thought that I could use this in any way, never clicked in my mind. But when the civil rights movement came along, years later, I had this foundation that most of my colleagues didn't have.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
Are you a pacifist?
JULIAN BOND:
I was then. I thought I was then. But not now. But I thought I was then. Because when the movement began and the sit-ins began and all of us embraced the idea of nonviolence at the demonstration, most of us also embraced the idea of nonviolence in our daily lives. So for a number of years, I thought of myself as a pacifist. As I say, I don't now. It's not really something I had big intellectual thoughts about. But it seemed tremendously attractive to me at the time. So yeah, I was a pacifist then.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
Getting back to your youth, I was wondering if you have memories of when your father filed the school desegregation suit?
JULIAN BOND:
No. No. I would've been five years old. No, I don't. I have learned a little bit about it now. What happened is he filed the suit. Before the suit could

Page 8
come to trial, the school board knew that they couldn't sustain this legally, and so they just capitulated. They just gave in.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
Yeah. Did you experience discrimination when you were in Pennsylvania?
JULIAN BOND:
No. I never went to the all-black school. It closed before I entered the first grade. I never had any problems with any of my classmates or schoolmates or the teachers. I was just a happy-go-lucky kid going along. As I say, I lived in this little protected world, almost never went out of it except to go to the nearby town of Oxford, which was segregated. I can remember while I was living in Lincoln, that some Lincoln students went to the movies in Oxford and sat downstairs instead of sitting up in the Jim Crow gallery. There was a big to-do. I don't think they were arrested, but it was a big to-do. The movie integrated. But it caused a lot of tension between the town and the school as there always is tension between town and gown. Always those people up there, those people up here. I remember somebody shot at our house. I was sitting on our front porch—this house had a big wrap-around porch—with my sister and my brother and my cousins who had come to spend some time with us in the summer. We heard this [he clapped loudly] and then [he made another noise, but softer—smacked his fist with his hand] another noise right away. Somebody shot and hit one of the columns of the porch. I don't think we realized at the time what the potential danger was. It could've been us. It could've killed us. But we just [were like], "Whoa what was that?" and later just saw this bullet hole.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
Do you know what the shooting was a result of?

Page 9
JULIAN BOND:
I think it was connected to this tension between the school—here you have this school of 400 black men in the middle of this rural county in Pennsylvania, forty-five miles from Philly. At the time, that was an hour and a half away—and the community, much less sophisticated than the school, so tremendous tension between the two. So it probably was related to just that tension, that feeling of tension there even though the school had been there for a long, long time. It's one of the oldest black schools in the country. It had been there since 1898.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
I was also wondering, moving along, what the circumstances were with your move to Atlanta, why you moved to Atlanta?
JULIAN BOND:
In 1957, which was the year I graduated from high school, my father accepted the job of dean of the School of Education at Atlanta University. So the family picked up and moved with him. It was traumatic for me because my home was full of these black newspapers that circulated all over the country, and they were full of these atrocity-stories about Negroes being lynched and burned and so on. I thought, boy, I don't want to go down there. But, of course, Atlanta is a big, fairly sophisticated city. Even though it was a segregated city, again I moved into a sort of a cocoon. We didn't live on the campus. We lived off campus. But we lived in this black neighborhood. We never, ever saw any white people, unless they were teachers or administrators of the school. So none of the black-white tensions that existed in the large world intruded in this world. So even when we moved to Atlanta, even though I was terrified, nothing happened.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
Yeah. You enrolled at Morehouse College. You had Martin Luther King—.

Page 10
JULIAN BOND:
As a teacher, yes.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
As a professor. How was that?
JULIAN BOND:
Well, as I say, I don't remember much about it. I've been talking to one of my classmates, and he doesn't remember anything about it either. Because frankly, at the time, we didn't think there was anything about it. He was a famous person, but he was nowhere near the famous person he is now. There were no schools named after him or streets named after him. So it wasn't that big a deal. It was a big deal, but it wasn't that big a deal. He was very easy and informal. So we'd come once a week. The class was a team-taught class. He and the fellow who had been his philosophy professor when he had been a Morehouse student. The two of them would sit in the front of the room, six students in the class, and we'd talk about philosophy. Most of the time we talked about the civil rights movement, the Montgomery bus boycott. But as I say, I don't remember anything he said or anything my fellows said. It was not viewed as that important an occasion.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
Do you remember him as a good professor?
JULIAN BOND:
I remember this—that we had a textbook that had little excerpts from Plato and Aristotle, and so on and so forth. The fellow who had taught him knew much more about philosophy than Martin Luther King did. He was a philosopher. That was his field. Martin Luther King knew something. But this other guy would open the book and read to us from it. King would open the book and recite to us from the book. He would say, "Aristotle says" [Bond now acts as if he's looking at book to check what King is saying for accuracy, as King recites passages from memory] and then he'd put his hand and he'd [say], "Yes, that is what Aristotle says." It was a remarkable

Page 11
display of memory, and even though he was not on a level with this other guy, he had absorbed this material in a way this other guy had not done.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
Wow. So he would recite from the book or not, or he would—?
JULIAN BOND:
He would recite from memory.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
He'd recite from memory.
JULIAN BOND:
He would begin by saying, "Aristotle says", dadadadadada without looking at the book. I thought, "Oo, that's impressive."
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
I think that's the reason he was such a great speaker with all this—.
JULIAN BOND:
Yes, sure.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
Because I just read a book [on him] because I'm writing a paper on him for one of my classes about speaking styles.
JULIAN BOND:
What book are you reading?
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
The one by Lischer and it's focusing on his oratorical abilities. It was interesting to see how he plagiarized a lot.
JULIAN BOND:
But that habit of plagiarizing is not viewed in oratory as much of a crime as it is in written material. If you write something and you plagiarize, that's very, very bad. If you say something—. You know there's an old joke that when you steal somebody's material, the first time you say, "As John Smith says da da da da da." Then the second time, you say, "As someone said da da da da da da." And then the third time, you say, "As I always say da da da da da." [Laughter] . Now I use other people's

Page 12
words in my speeches, and I footnote them, but nobody sees the footnotes [Laughter] . So, I don't know.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
I remember you talked in class about how you got involved with the Atlanta movement with Lonnie King. Could you please go over that?
JULIAN BOND:
Well, I was in this café one morning, and he came up to me with this newspaper that talked about the Greensboro sit-ins. He engaged me in going around the café, talking to other students, about doing the same thing in Atlanta. Our circle got larger and larger and larger and larger. Eventually, because I was the first person he spoke to—. I think because I was in from the beginning, then I gravitated toward a leadership position with this group. After a couple of days, we had a fairly large group of people and we had a series of meetings and word got out about what we were doing. We went to the president. These were Morehouse, Spelman, Clark, Morris Brown colleges, the Interdenominational Theological Center, a seminary, and Atlanta University, a graduate school. So here are four colleges, two graduate schools—six schools of 4000 students. So we made sure we had somebody from each school and picked on the student body presidents particularly because they were leadership figures and other people would follow them and formed this group and then we began the sit-ins.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
Oh yes. It was called the Committee on Appeal for Human Rights?
JULIAN BOND:
Well, we wrote this document, which was published in the daily newspapers, called "An Appeal for Human Rights." So we called ourselves, the Committee on Appeal for Human Rights because we couldn't think of a better name.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
Did you draft the majority of the—?

Page 13
JULIAN BOND:
With a young woman named Hershelle Sullivan.
JULIAN BOND:
She and I pulled it together.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
What was your role on the committee?
JULIAN BOND:
I was the publicist. I was the guy who if the newspapers called, I would talk to them or reporters [who] called. If we wanted to put out a statement, I would write the statement. So I was the publicist. I was the fountain of knowledge. I was the spin-master. I was the interpreter, the interpreter of what we did. I interpreted what we did to the larger world.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
What was the Atlanta Inquirer?
JULIAN BOND:
Well, there was a daily black newspaper in Atlanta which was Republican oriented and very conservative and it was hostile to what we were doing because we were picketing an A&P store. A&P was a big advertiser with them. A&P took their ads out and they got mad. So they began to attack us. So a group of black real estate men. Atlanta has a fairly wealthy black community, a lot of black businesses. These real estate guys said to us, "We'll take our ads out of the Atlanta World for a week to teach them a lesson." While they took their ads out, white real estate companies began encroaching on their market. So they said, "Hey, this can't be." So they said, "Why don't you put together some paper to compete with the World?" So with the help of some adults, in fact with the adults doing most of the real work, we put together this newspaper called the Atlanta Inquirer Weekly. I began working for the paper. I ghost-wrote a column for Lonnie King called "Let Freedom Ring by Lonnie King." I wrote a sports column about which I knew nothing then and I know nothing now. I covered crime stories. What you would do is go down to the police station. On the front desk of

Page 14
the police station would be a copy of all the police reports. Policemen would write a report in triplicate. One copy goes to this sort of open file. You could go down there and just look through them until you see an interesting crime and put that interesting crime in the paper. So I did that a couple of times. If it was some spectacular trial, I would cover a trial. Then I would help put the paper together. I would design it and lay it out.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
How long did you do this?
JULIAN BOND:
I'm not sure. I guess about a year.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
Did these businessman approach the Committee on Appeal for Human Rights about forming a newspaper?
JULIAN BOND:
Yes. One of the people who put the paper out was not a businessman. He was a professor at Clark College. He was a English professor, had a kind of writing background, literary guy, and he became the editor. We knew him as a supporter of the movement and so we gravitated toward him. He became the editor. So it was just a natural fit.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
Sure. You were at the founding conference of SNCC with Ella Baker?
JULIAN BOND:
Yes.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
Were you invited as a result of—?
JULIAN BOND:
Well, the Committee on Appeal for Human Rights was invited. Ella Baker sent letters to all of these student groups that had popped up around the South inviting us to come up to Raleigh on Easter weekend 1960. We all came and met each other, got to know each other for the first time and formed this temporary Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. They set up an office in Atlanta, and

Page 15
originally a young white woman named Jane Stembridge was the director, and she was replaced by a guy named Ed King, and he was replaced by James Forman. Forman saw my name in the files as a member of the Atlanta student group and saw that I had some writing facility, and he invited me to come down and eventually I dropped out of school. I spent so much time down there I dropped out of school and became the publicity director.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
I was wondering what you remembered of the conference and how many, and also these students, they went on to work for SNCC. But you didn't at first and why you didn't at first.
JULIAN BOND:
Well, because it was such a big step to drop out of school. The idea was that you entered and four years later you got out and got a degree and then you got a job or went to grad school or your life went on. You didn't interrupt this flow. So that was a big, big step. Your parents had invested money and so on and they were looking forward to graduation day. You didn't want to interrupt their dreams. So, it was a big step. But what happened is that I spent more and more time working for SNCC and going to school. Eventually more time working than I was going to school, and I just couldn't do both things. This seemed more immediate and something I had to do right now. I could come back and do the other later.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
Right.
JULIAN BOND:
And so I did.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
Then you later went back to Morehouse, right?
JULIAN BOND:
Yeah. I went back in 1971, ten years later.

Page 16
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
Did Forman or the other people at SNCC put pressure on you to drop out of school?
JULIAN BOND:
No, no, but they kept saying, "Can you do this? Can you do that?"
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
What was your parents' reaction?
JULIAN BOND:
Oh, they were horrified. There were horrified. But I must say they were also fairly supportive. My father was an educator and education was everything to him. The idea that you'd interrupt your education, voluntarily—. Lots of people had to interrupt their education. They ran out of money; they had to take a job for awhile and come back later; they went to service, came back later. But the idea that you would voluntarily interrupt your education was just horrible to him. But he was supportive too. He thought what I was doing and what we were doing was important, and he realized how important we thought it was.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
How did your parents feel about your activism?
JULIAN BOND:
Well, in the same way, they were supportive. I think they were like all parents, worried that what we were doing was dangerous and could bring us some harm, but they also thought it was important, so they were willing to let us take the risk.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
Yeah. That brings up the question too of did you really face fear that you would be, fearful of violence during this whole time?
JULIAN BOND:
During the Atlanta student movement, almost never. There were a couple of occasions. I remember we were picketing a grocery store once, and

Page 17
some guy threw battery acid at Lonnie King, in his face. It could've blinded him, but it didn't cause real harm. But that was scary. If he had been blinded—.
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]

[TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]
JULIAN BOND:
I can't remember how this happened, but the Klan was counter picketing. These people are terrorists. You don't know what they'll do. So there was an air of tension in the air. Then later after I started working for SNCC, there were a couple of times where I never was physically hurt but where there was menace in the air. Something could happen. Thank heaven it never did. So nothing bad ever happened to me.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
Did you have threats, like bomb threats, at the SNCC headquarters at all?
JULIAN BOND:
Oh yeah, all the time. But we were in the middle of a black neighborhood. The threats came from whites. Almost no whites came in this neighborhood unless they had business there, unless they worked for the gas company or the phone company or something like that. You didn't see white faces in this neighborhood. A white face would've stood out. Someone might have come at night and planted a bomb. But no one ever did. But during the daytime you didn't really worry about it.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
Then I was looking at Mary King's book [Freedom Song], and she wrote that you reported a lot of these incidents to the FBI?

Page 18
JULIAN BOND:
Oh yeah, yes. I was the FBI liaison. The FBI would always take them down and write them down. Then as far as I know, they never did anything about them. Peculiar people.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
Yeah. Then didn't you say, did they wiretap your phones as well?
JULIAN BOND:
I think they did. Now I've gotten the FBI reports from us, but I know that they have destroyed a lot of their files. So there is no report of these many, many contacts, open and above board contacts, I had with them and there should be. There should've been a record that on April 1st, 1961, Julian Bond from the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee reported such and such. There's none of that. So you've got to think these files have been destroyed.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
I know that when you worked at SNCC there was quite low pay. I was wondering how that affected you?
JULIAN BOND:
Not a great deal. I got forty dollars a week. I was married and had one, then two, then three children. But you could live on forty dollars a week. You couldn't live well. My parents helped me buy a car, but I didn't need [it]. I lived five blocks from the office. You could live on that kind of money then. You couldn't live well. But you could live. Since you worked all the time, what did you need money for? You weren't going out a lot. You weren't buying fancy clothes. You had everything that you needed.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
What were your hours?
JULIAN BOND:
Oh, I'd get there at about nine in the morning and stay until about eleven or twelve at night.

Page 19
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
Five, six days a week?
JULIAN BOND:
Seven days a week.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
Seven days a week.
JULIAN BOND:
Everybody else would be there on that schedule. We used to have a lot of parties. We'd buy cheap wine and we'd make spaghetti. Ten or twelve people would get together and have dinner and a party and dance and play music. Every now and then, there were a couple of night clubs in Atlanta, black clubs, we'd go to these clubs. The owners at these clubs knew us. They would let us in for nothing. I remember when we had moved our office to the other side of town, to Auburn Avenue, a newspaper publisher in California used to send us a hundred papers in a bundle a week. Forman and I would sell these papers on the street to get enough money to eat lunch. If you sold them for a quarter each and you sold say ten of them, you could eat lunch for two-fifty. I mean things were cheap them, cheaper than they are now. You could get by.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
How big was the staff that you directed?
JULIAN BOND:
Oo, originally it was just myself. Then it was Dottie Miller and myself. Then it was Mary King and myself and a guy named [Mark Suckle?] who ran the press. We eventually got a quite big printing press. And another guy named Wilson Brown. So five people say tops.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
Okay and what were the—.
JULIAN BOND:
And a couple of photographers, maybe seven people.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
What were the challenges of getting your message across and what tactics did you use?

Page 20
JULIAN BOND:
Well, there are two challenges. There is one challenge in getting the message to the big world—newspapers, TV, radio. That's a big, big challenge. And the challenge is to get these journalists interested in it and then to get them to tell the story right. So it meant cultivating them and telling them, "I got something for you. This is something hot. This just happened." It meant being absolutely honest with them, never make anything up, never exaggerating, always being able to back up what you saw. Always being able to document and getting it out quick. So for the daily papers and the TV and the radio, we had to be just quick. [Snapping fingers.] Quick, quick, quick. That was why the hours were so long and because you could call people in California. You had to call them when they were there. They worked nine to five. So you had to be there when they were there. Then for black newspapers and weekly newspapers, we'd send out press releases. Most of them have Wednesday deadlines, so we'd want to send out press releases no later than Monday so they'd get to them. So we'd have to typewrite these things, type them up, mimeograph them, fold them, stuff them, address the envelopes, break them down by zip code, stamp them, take them to the post office, get them all off. So that's one big challenge. The other challenge was putting out this newspaper, the Student Voice. We had to write it and print it and then take it to the bus station and send it to our offices all over the South. So that was a big, big, big challenge.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
Yeah, I noticed—.

Page 21
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[TAPE 2, SIDE A]

[START OF TAPE 2, SIDE A]
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
I just had some follow up questions from last time.
JULIAN BOND:
Okay.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
Some technical questions. With the Paul Robeson's song, you said that was called when he sang to you, that was "Four Insurgent Generals?"
JULIAN BOND:
"Four Insurgent Generals," yeah. It was a Russian folk song, I think.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
Okay. And then the person who authored An Appeal for Human Rights?
JULIAN BOND:
It was myself and a woman named Hershelle Sullivan.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
And it's Hershelle, is that?
JULIAN BOND:
H-E-R-S-H-E-L-L-E.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
Okay. Was she a student?
JULIAN BOND:
She was a Spelman College student.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
Okay. Then I just had some questions about the timeline in terms of when did Lonnie King come up to you. That was in February?
JULIAN BOND:
Yes, it would've been about February 3rd or 4th, 1960.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
Then it was in March 1960 that you had the Shaw University—?
JULIAN BOND:
No, that was in April.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
That was in April. Okay.
JULIAN BOND:
Yes.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
That's right. It was Easter—.

Page 22
JULIAN BOND:
Easter weekend.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
Weekend. Okay and then how soon after that did you begin working for SNCC?
JULIAN BOND:
I'm not really sure. But, say, April, May, June, somewhere in there.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
Okay and then you dropped out of school?
JULIAN BOND:
Probably toward the end of my last semester, next to last semester, which would have been in November or December of 1960, because I should've graduated in June of 1961. So this would've been the first semester my senior year, the worst time to drop out of school.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
Yeah. James Forman, he gave you a call after the conference?
JULIAN BOND:
Yes, after the SNCC conference in Raleigh. It probably was later than May or June because Forman came to SNCC sometime that early fall, say October, November, September, sometime in there. Shortly after he arrived, he called me and said he had found my name in a card file and that I was a writer, and he needed a writer and would I come down. I began spending more and more time and I was spending more time there than I was in school. So I just, something had to go.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
Yeah. So you didn't work with them before he called you?
JULIAN BOND:
I was in and out.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
Or you were in and out.
JULIAN BOND:
Yeah.

Page 23
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
That's when you became the communications director.
JULIAN BOND:
Communications director, yes.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
Officially. Then how, where does your work at the Atlanta Inquirer
JULIAN BOND:
Fit in there?
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
Yeah.
JULIAN BOND:
I'm not sure. I'm confused about this. Because I worked for them, maybe it was before this, before I went to work for SNCC because I worked for them for a while, say several months, more than six months. So all this is very hazy to me. But probably it came before I went to work for SNCC. The exact order of these things is just unclear to me.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
Yeah. Then did you keep working for them though when you went to work for SNCC?
JULIAN BOND:
No, I left them and went to work for SNCC full time.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
Oh, right. Right. Then you became managing editor was it, with the Atlanta Inquirer?
JULIAN BOND:
Yeah, I was managing editor. Jack of all trades, master of none.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
I just thought we'd continue with SNCC and then go on to your time in Georgia [Legislature]. I have some questions about the March on Washington and what your role was in that?
JULIAN BOND:
Well, my official role was to publicize the contribution SNCC made to the March on Washington. You have the NAACP, the Urban League, the

Page 24
Southern Christian Leadership Conference, all these organizations. Each one of them competing with the other to see which could get the proper media attention paid to whatever we did. The single thing we were doing there was having our chairman John Lewis speak. He was the youngest person and would be overshadowed by these others because they were better known and more famous and more prominent people. So my job was to make sure the media gathered there—and there were a lot of reporters there—knew about John. So I distributed copies of his speech in advance, as everybody's speech was distributed in advance. But that was my job to make sure he got proper attention or [as] equal attention [as] everyone else. But it came down to my real job was passing out the Coca Colas to the movie stars I think because I was the youngest person there and the other people could boss me around. They had all these movie stars there and they all wanted special attention, like movie stars do. So I spent a lot of time carrying cases of Coca Cola around to the movie stars.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
Who were some of the movie stars?
JULIAN BOND:
Oh, Sammy Davis Jr. and Paul Newman and Marlon Brando. Probably others, but those are the three I remember. I remember Sammy Davis Jr. pointing his finger at me like a gun and saying [Bond clucks his tongue and reenacts the scene], "Thanks, kid."
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
Were you involved at all with drafting John Lewis's speech?
JULIAN BOND:
No, no, I didn't have anything to do with that.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
What did you think of the controversy surrounding that speech?

Page 25
JULIAN BOND:
Well, I really didn't know much about it at the time. James Forman and Courtland Cox and Mr. [A. Philip] Randolph and Bayard Rustin were really the principals involved in trying to get John to change his speech. That took place up on the platform where the Lincoln statue sits. So I was not involved in that at the time. When I found out about it later, quite shortly later, it just seemed to be typical of the desire of these older and more conservative civil rights organizations to sugarcoat the messages that were being delivered from the platform. We believed very strongly in what John was going to say even though I had no part in drafting what he was going to say. We believed very strongly in our position that the Kennedy civil rights bill was not adequate, that it was weak and that the Democratic and Republican parties were too much alike and neither one of them as strong for civil rights as they should have been. We were fearful that the march would turn into sort of a campaign rally for John F. Kennedy's reelection and didn't want it to have that kind of political overtone. So my afterthought was that this was just typical of the ways these guys operated.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
When I heard Mary King speak and I asked her a question about the different civil rights organizations and different methods and the interactions, she termed it "sibling rivalry." I was wondering what you would have to say about that.
JULIAN BOND:
Yes, look at this way. Here are four or five organizations, very different kinds of organizations and working in overlapping but different ways. For example, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee believed in organizing people. That is if we could get leadership in a community and people to follow that leadership to build a movement, then we could go away and the movement would go on. Dr. King and

Page 26
the Southern Christian Leadership Conference believed in mobilizing people. That is to say marches, protests, and demonstrations, and we did that too. But that wasn't our main focus. Our main focus was trying to create something that would be in the community for months and years to come, some kind of organization because, quite obviously, fifty people together are stronger than one person standing alone. So we wanted to get as many people as possible involved. We were also profoundly democratic, with a small "d". We believed in group decisions. We believed in group organization. Our mentor was a woman named Ella Baker. Ella Baker used to say, "Strong people don't need strong leaders," because they themselves are strong. They don't need somebody saying, "Follow me," or "Do this" or something. So that put us at odds with SCLC because they had the strong leader, Martin Luther King. Even though we generally did whatever it was King said let's do. We didn't like the idea of someone saying, "Let's do this." We liked the idea of everyone saying, "What about this? What about that? Why don't we do this?" So anyway, here are all these organizations with overlapping styles, a common, or nearly common, agenda, but each one proud of its own identity because this identity is tied to our fund-raising efforts. If we participate in a demonstration and no one knows we're there, then we can't say, "Look at what we did," because no one knows that we did it. So my job, in part, and Mary's job was to make sure people knew what we were doing. In many places we weren't in actual competition with these groups, we were the only group. But we didn't want people to say, "Negroes marched on City Hall in Jackson, Mississippi." We wanted to say, "The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee organized a march of Negroes on the City Hall in Jackson, Mississippi." So people in the North with big checkbooks could say, "Oh, I like that. Let me write a

Page 27
check." So part of it is a fight for organizational identity. Again just on the surface, people say, "Gee, why'd you have to do that? Couldn't you all work together in common cause?" Well, we were working together in common cause, but we were also fighting so we could say, "We're doing this. These other people are doing that. We don't think what they're doing is bad. But we think what we're doing is good," and we want people pay attention.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
We read, well, in your class and American in the 1960s class—I'm taking that—we've studied Bob Moses, who was such a proponent of what you were just saying. In the book, you were saying that there was no other leader that inspired people more in SNCC. If you could comment about your interactions with him.
JULIAN BOND:
Well, Moses inspired people by example and by his demeanor and personality. He was an extremely soft-spoken person. Obviously, well educated, intelligent, intellectual. But he wasn't at all bombastic or table-pounding, or loud. But by example inspired other people to follow him. Thoughtful. Always thinking about alternative ways. "We could do this. We could do that. This can happen. That can happen." But with a large vision of what was required if we were going to move society. So it's a combination of personality and [the] example he set. He was extremely brave and willing to suffer and sacrifice. Risk beating. Risk death. You couldn't help but be impressed by him. I think he brought a little something extra too because he was a Northerner. We drew lines between Southerners and Northerners. Southerners had to do this stuff. We lived in the South. We had to do this stuff because that's where we were going to live. He lived in New York. He could've stayed in New York, but yet he was willing to come down and share with us because he saw the fate of black New Yorkers or

Page 28
black New Englanders or black Californians tied to the fate of black Southerners. All part of the same struggle. So it was by example that he inspired us. Example and personality.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
How much contact did you have with him and these other people while you were in the office in Atlanta and they were out in the field? Did you make trips there?
JULIAN BOND:
I both made trips fairly regularly to all of the SNCC locations, and we were in almost daily telephone contact with people. Because my job was to publicize what they were doing, I had to know what they were doing. They filed monthly field reports, which were long documents. Sometimes almost stream-of-consciousness-typed reports on their days and weeks and months' activity. I would get those. Then I would call them and we'd hear that something was happening or was going to happen in such and such a place and I'd call them. We had WATS lines. That's W-A-T-S, Wide Area Telephone Service lines. At that time, you could pay the phone company a flat fee and you'd get unlimited long distance calls. It was fabulous, because long distance was expensive and we had no money. But you could call twenty-four hours a day to Mississippi or Alabama or Georgia. It was enormously helpful because we'd get in quick. This was before e-mails and before faxes and all that kind of stuff. But you could be in almost instant communication with anybody, anywhere for not much money. So I saw him fairly regularly, and I talked to him fairly regularly.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
You mentioned as a fund-raising option was that you publicized your efforts and everything. What else did you do to raise money?

Page 29
JULIAN BOND:
Well, we had a list of supporters. People who had spontaneously sent us a check in the mail. We had their names and addresses. Then we would buy lists from other groups—from the ACLU, let's say. We assumed that if you were giving to the ACLU, you probably would give to us too. So we would buy their lists, and we'd send them a letter. Or we'd trade lists with other groups. We'd give them a 1000 of our names. They'd give us a 1000 of their names and we'd send them letters. Or we would have parties at someone's house. Some well-to-do person would invite a hundred of their friends. Somebody from our group would go and speak to the assembled crowed. Then we'd have somebody primed to say, "Oh, I'll give a hundred dollars," or something like that. Or we'd have church rallies in poorer neighborhoods. Somebody would come and speak and you'd pass the hat. Occasionally you would get a big check. By big, I mean 5000 dollars—that was big—from somebody. But typically it was twenty-five, thirty dollars, fifty dollars, over and over again. We had campus groups that would hold things. We had this group called the Freedom Singers. They would go around to college campuses and sing and raise money. So we got money any way we could.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
Were there was it called "Friends of SNCC" groups?
JULIAN BOND:
Oh yes. We had these "Friends of SNCC" groups. A woman named Betty Garman, who now lives in Baltimore—Betty Robinson is her name now—was in charge of the "Friends of SNCC" group. We had "Friends of SNCC" groups at all these college campuses scattered around the country. They gave us not only money, but they also gave us political support. Something's happening in Selma. Betty would be in touch with the Friends of SNCC group. They would inundate the Justice Department

Page 30
[with] telegrams–"Do something about Selma." "Do something about this." So they served both a fund-raising purpose and a political support purpose. They were just great.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
You mentioned earlier Ella Baker. Could you talk about your interactions with her and the influence she had?
JULIAN BOND:
Well, I met Miss Baker at the Raleigh Conference on Easter weekend in 1960 when SNCC was founded and remained impressed with her from that day until she died. She was always Miss Baker. Now Mary got to know her well enough to call her Ella. But I would have never called her Ella. She was not the kind of person I would call Ella. I would call her Miss Baker. She always wore suits, and she was well in her middle age when I met her. So she was not somebody you joked or laughed around with. She was right on the edge of being stern. But she was never harsh. She always searched for consensus. She never said, "Do this." But she always was able to pose questions to you that made you think about alternative ways and end up with a solution that involved some kind of democratic process involving everybody. So that if four or five of us were sitting here, she would ask what everybody thinks. What's best and have some discussion about it. She wouldn't tolerate someone coming in and saying, "Okay, here's what we're going to do." It had to be talked out among us all. It took us forever to make decisions. But when we made them, you had the feeling that everyone had had their say. It might not be the decision you wanted, but at least you got to say something about it, to argue your point of view and that was the way we thought it best operate. That you couldn't fight for democracy without being democratic. You had your method and your goals had to be the same.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
Would she be at many of the SNCC meetings?

Page 31
JULIAN BOND:
Oh yes. She was an adult advisor. She would be at many of the meetings. She was a constant presence at our office. She worked for a brief period for SCLC. So she was in Atlanta. Then when she left and went back to New York, she would come down for a meeting, especially the big conferences. When we got all the staff together, she would come down. Again she never dominated the meetings. She never said, "Listen, here's what we're going to do." She never said that. She always found a way to get the sense of what the group wanted to do. She was just great.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
I understand now more why she disagreed with Martin Luther King a lot. Another woman I was going to ask you about is Fannie Lou Hamer and your interactions with her and when you first met her.
JULIAN BOND:
Well, Ms. Hamer was uneducated, sixth-grade education. But she was a forceful personality on the platform. She sang. She led freedom songs. She didn't have a perfect voice, but she could make you want to sing, make you want to join with her. Unlike Miss Baker, Ms. Hamer came right off the plantation. So when she's speaking, she's talking from personal experience, the way she's known, the life she's lived. In working with other people off the plantation or on the plantation, she's in effect saying to them, "I'm like you. Whatever you've experienced, I've experienced it too. Whatever life you've known, I've known that life too. So I'm not asking you to do something I haven't done or I'm not willing to do myself." She was just a wonderful person. Again I hate to keep harping on this. She was a democrat. I mean that with a small 'd.' She was a democrat. She believed in involving everybody, and she believed that you didn't have to have a Ph.D. degree to make some contribution to the debate. Other people did believe that. If you were a grade school drop-out, "Who cares about

Page 32
you? What did you know? I'm a college graduate. I know everything." She didn't believe that. She believed that there's something in everybody. That everybody can make some kind of contribution.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
When did you first meet her?
JULIAN BOND:
Oh, probably in the early 1960s. I don't remember a date. But you know, physically, she was not prepossessing. She was overweight. Heavy set. Not pretty in the conventional kind of way. But she was just dynamic. Dynamic.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
You went to Africa with her, right?
JULIAN BOND:
Yes, oh yes.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
Could you talk about that trip?
JULIAN BOND:
This was in the fall of '64, and I can't remember everyone who went. James Forman, Bob Moses, Fannie Lou Hamer, John Lewis, [Don Harris?], a couple of other people. We went as guests of Harry Belafonte, whom I saw yesterday.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
Oh no kidding.
JULIAN BOND:
Yes, in New York, he gave me an award [the James Weldon Johnson Award].
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
Oh wow.
JULIAN BOND:
It was just great. Anyway, at the time Harry Belafonte was an advisor to the government of Guinea. Guinea, which was a former French colony which had become independent, had a folklore troupe called the Ballet African, or the African Ballet. These were folk dancers and singers and musicians, and they toured the world and drew enormous crowds, in small part, because sometimes the women danced bare-breasted. You had never seen this, never seen this on the American stage. But that

Page 33
wasn't the whole reason. They were so appealing musically in the entertainment sense. They were so appealing. They just drew enormous crowds. Belafonte helped the government of Guinea select the groups that would go. He, because of his own experience in the entertainment business, knew what American or European audiences would like. He also knew the worth of this group as opposed to that group as opposed to this group. So he was spending a lot of time in Guinea and he invited us to come. I don't know where we raised the money, but this group of us went. We spent two weeks living in Conakry, the capital, living in the home of the former French governor general. So it was a mansion. Now Belafonte lived in one section of the mansion. Most of the other people lived in the other section. John Lewis and I had a house with three rooms, a bedroom that we shared, a living room, and a big bathroom, which was great because it was hot as the devil. You took showers all day long. I remember this enormous shower, almost as big as this room. All tile, beautiful tile. Just a fabulous place. Then we ate in a common dining room with Belafonte and his wife. Fabulous food, a lot of chicken and fish. I remember that. Because it's right on the coast. In fact, this place, this house, this mansion had a big balcony looking out over the passage out to the sea. In the morning, you would see these guys in paddleboats and canoes—about fifteen men going out to see. It was just great. You would see them going out in the morning, coming back at night. They were fishermen going out to fish. It was just fabulous, fabulous. It was the Villa Sily, was the name of it. So we spent two weeks traveling around the country, making little day trips out in the rural areas. Ruby Doris Robinson was one of the people who went, and she got her hair corn-rowed. You know what corn-rows are.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
[shakes her head no or gives a blank or puzzled look.]

Page 34
JULIAN BOND:
You've seen them. Sort of rows black people—. Their hair braided very close to the skull.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
Oh yes.
JULIAN BOND:
I had never ever seen that anywhere before. It's fairly common now. But she got her hair corn-rowed in an African village. "Wow, oo, look at that." So it was just a wonderful experience. It was my first trip to Africa, and it was a real eye opener. To go to a country that had said no to France. When France released its colonies, they gave them a choice. They could stay within the French Commonwealth like the British Commonwealth, and every colony except Guinea said, yes. Guinea said, "No. We want to be independent. We want to stand on our own." The president of Guinea would come and have dinner with us in our place. He told us that when he was a boy. He said, "I knew more about French history than I knew about the history of my own country. I knew about Charlemagne. I knew all the princes and kings of France, but I knew nothing about [Guinean] history. So we wanted to break away. And, when the French left, they took everything with them. They took the telephones. They took the telephone lines. They took the toilet paper. They took everything." So this poor country was sort of starting all over again. But it was a wonderful place. It was a great trip.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
You were guests of the government?
JULIAN BOND:
Yes, we were the guests of the government, so we were driven around and taken on tours.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
How did that make you feel about the United States because here you are guests? What effect did that have?

Page 35
JULIAN BOND:
Well, the United States was hostile to Guinea because Guinea had left the French Commonwealth. Guinea was an independent nation. Guinea wasn't following the United States line. I think we felt good because we didn't think the United States line was the good line. We thought these African countries have to assert some independence. If they think something's right for them, they have to be able to say so. So, and it was exciting to see the president, whose name was Sekou Toure, who was an intelligent man and just want to think—. You grow up in this country and you get an image of Africans running around in loincloths hunting animals, cannibals, eating each other, voodoo. These are intelligent, sophisticated people, not at all what we had been taught they were. I was just a real eye opener. It was a fabulous trip. On my way back with two other guys—Bill Hansen was there, Matthew Jones was there too—we stopped off and spent a long week in Paris on the way back. It was my first time in Paris. It was exciting. Oo la la.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
And your treatment there as compared to the treatment of black—.
JULIAN BOND:
Well, it is a black country. I'll tell you something. Flying there, we flew from New York. [interruption] .
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
Okay.
JULIAN BOND:
Where were we?
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
Africa.
JULIAN BOND:
Okay.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
Thank you.
JULIAN BOND:
Africa.

Page 36
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
But I also wanted to ask you about the MFDP and your role when that all happened.
JULIAN BOND:
Well, I didn't have much role except as a publicizer. That is I didn't spend any extended time in Mississippi. I was in and out of Mississippi, went to various SNCC projects. Particularly during the summer of '64 during Freedom Summer. But I didn't organize anything. I helped publicize what the MFDP was doing, what the Freedom Summer people was doing. I didn't go to the convention in Atlantic City. Forman, the sneaky devil, said to me, he said, "You can have your choice of going to Atlantic City or going to Africa." I said, "Well, I'd much rather go to Africa if that's my choice." He said, "Well, you have to stay in Atlanta to watch the office while we're up in Atlantic City." Then we get ready to go to Africa and I notice, "Jim, you're going to Africa. And you went to Atlantic City. Why is that?" Anyway.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
I've read that SNCC members felt "battle fatigue" after a while. If you could speak about what you observed with that, both others, personally.
JULIAN BOND:
Well, imagine this. You're twenty, twenty-one years old. You're doing work that is not only physically taxing, but physically dangerous. And you're not paid well, so you're not eating well. So your diet is poor. You're working under enormous strain—mental, physical strain. You're just not operating under the best circumstances. And quite a few–I started to say a lot but I couldn't say a majority—but quite a few people obviously suffered from this, either physically because they'd been beaten and physically hurt or mentally because they'd been physically beaten or just because the strain was too much for them. We had a lot of casualties. One person who went insane. They killed someone. A guy named Dennis [he muttered something about

Page 37
forgetting his name] killed Allard Lowenstein. Dennis was married to Mary, and they got divorced, and his mental condition deteriorated and he shot and killed Allard Lowenstein. He just got out of the mental hospital a couple of years ago. What was his name? I can't remember. Anyway, and other people who didn't go to that extreme but obviously just weren't functioning well. When we could, we would give them some money and say, you know, "Go away." I remember sending a guy to Mexico for a vacation because it was just obvious from talking to him that his mental state was not well. So a lot of people were hurt by this—the combination of bad diet, stress, strain, physical beatings, or just living on the edge all the time. Just rough on a lot of people.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
How did it affect you?
JULIAN BOND:
I went nuts too. Can't you tell? I don't know. It surely didn't affect me the way it affected some others because for one, I was married and had a home life that most other people didn't. Almost everybody else was single. We lived communally. So you're living with people who are sharing the same experience, which on the one hand makes it easier, on the other hand makes it worse.
[END OF TAPE 2, SIDE A]

[TAPE 2, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 2, SIDE B]
JULIAN BOND:
My parents lived in Atlanta too. So I was at home. None of these other people were at home. That takes a strain on you when you're young. So I don't think it affected me. [He again jokes by acting like he's crazy].
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
The stability. Yeah. Yeah. Kind of segue into how it became so much more of a black power change and kind of what your opinions were. I know you eventually resigned from SNCC and why that happened.

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JULIAN BOND:
I think probably—. I never thought about it before. But probably a portion of the black power thought stemmed from the tension. People's tempers become short. You become angry at people you would not have become angry at ordinarily. A couple of things happened and these are big generalizations. We had had a big argument about bringing whites into Mississippi for the summer of '64. The argument usually went like this. The people who were in favor of it said the country is more interested in. [interruption] Where were we?
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
You were saying about, I asked you about the tensions and then—.
JULIAN BOND:
Oh yes. So the people who wanted white students to come said, "The country values white life more than it values black life. So if we bring these white kids down here and they get beat up and they get arrested, then the country will pay more attention to what we're doing." The people opposed to it said, "That's exactly why they shouldn't come because we're trying to say to the country, 'You should value black life as much as white life.' Bringing these white kids down argues against that." But anyway, the proponents won. The white kids came. Now on top of this, there had always been throughout history a strong stream of nationalism in black America. Sometimes it's very strong; sometimes it goes down. But it's always there. What this says essentially is that black people have to do things for themselves, by themselves because unless they do, we'll never be strong and we'll never be independent. If we depend on help from white allies, then we'll always be weak. We'll always need that kind of help. So the combination of these sentiments comes together.

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Then other things enter the mix as well. There begin to be romances between white women and black men. The black women say, "Hey! Those are our men." Of course, that's kind of a possessive thing. Nobody is your man. We are all independent people. We can be whomever we want to be and with whomever we want to be or whomever wants to be with us. But it caused an enormous amount of tension. "These women are stealing our men." They would say the black men, you've bought into the American idea of beauty: blond hair, blue eyes, narrow noses, thin lips, Caucasian features. You don't like black features: thick lips, broad noses, kinky hair. You hate yourself. So enormous, enormous tensions. All this come to a head, I can't remember the dates well, at a staff meeting of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. The staff meeting has been characterized as the expulsion of whites from SNCC, which is not really what it is. It's nearly that, but it's not that. What happened is that there's a great deal of debate about who ought to work where. The argument goes: the problem of racism in America isn't in black communities. It's not black people who are doing these things. It's white people. So if you want to solve the problem of racism, you have to work in white communities. Black people cannot work in white communities, but white people can. So why don't you [he points to me] go work in this white community over here? I'll keep working in this black community over here. We'll be working toward the common goals, but it doesn't make sense for you to work over here. I can't work over there. Why don't you go work over there where you can? Some of the white people said, "Yeah, that makes sense. That's a good idea." Some of them said, "No, I want to keep on doing this." The end result was that this sharp line was drawn between black and white people in SNCC. It was

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extremely painful for many people on both sides because there were friendships going back three, four, five years, shared experiences, shared terror, shared danger. It was just rough for people to make an accommodation to this, and not everyone made an accommodation. It eventually helped to destroy us.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
Were you at that meeting?
JULIAN BOND:
No, so I'm innocent.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
What was your position at the meeting about Freedom Summer?
JULIAN BOND:
I wasn't party to any of the debates. But had I been there, I thought it was a good idea. I thought it was a good idea. I thought of myself as being a pragmatic person who said, "Listen, if this is what it takes to get the job done, let's do it." I really wasn't involved in any of the larger philosophical debates about it.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
What made you decide to leave SNCC?
JULIAN BOND:
Well, a couple of things. For one, Stokeley Carmichael got to be the chairman. John Lewis who was my close, close, close friend for many, many years was out, and he left. A lot of new people had come in. I just, I felt uncomfortable with it. I didn't like the direction it seemed to me to be taking. I had just gotten elected to the legislature and thought I was entering into a new phase of life. I just felt uncomfortable.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
Did you ever meet Malcolm X?
JULIAN BOND:
Only twice, only once. That was the night before the March on Washington. So it would've been August 27, 1963, and I just shook hands. So I can't say I met him. "How are you doing?" That was it.

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ELIZABETH GRITTER:
I'm going to jump ahead because I'm really curious about 1968 and the Chicago convention and you leading the Georgia challenge delegation. If you could talk about what that was.
JULIAN BOND:
Well, in 1968, in Georgia, there was no democratic selection of delegates to go to the convention. All the delegates were picked by the party chairmen. Nowadays they have primaries where delegates are elected. Next year, Democrats will elect some Gore delegates and some Bradley delegates and some uncommitted delegates, but they will be elected, most of them. Democrats will elect them, and they'll go to the convention. This didn't happen in Georgia. It didn't happen in most states. The party chairman picked them. So he'd say, "You, not you, yeah you," and so on. He picked a delegation that was almost all white in a state that was a quarter black, where all the black people were Democrats. He picked a delegation that was pledged to vote for Alabama governor George Wallace who was running for president as an independent candidate, not as a Democrat. So these weren't even Democrats. The McCarthy campaign, the campaign of Eugene McCarthy, thought it'd be a good idea to raise some trouble on the edges by putting together a challenge delegation. So they sent an organizer to Atlanta, and he talked to me and more people and more people and more people and more people. We constructed a delegation that was democratically chosen. We had caucuses in each of the congressional districts in Georgia. They elected delegates to the state convention held in Macon. I get elected co-chairman of the delegation with another fellow, and we send our delegation up to Chicago to the convention. There's a big argument between ourselves and the regular delegates. The party decides the dispute by splitting the votes—half for them, half for us. But most of

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them walked out. So we took their seats. I think all but three of them walked out. So we became the Georgia delegation. We got to cast all of Georgia's votes. I got nominated for vice president, but I had to refuse because I was too young.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
I know with all the riots going on that you made a speech in Grant Park. If you could talk about that.
JULIAN BOND:
Yes, McCarthy and I—. Grant Park is right across the street from the Hilton Hotel. The Hilton was McCarthy's headquarters and where we were staying too or where I was staying. So McCarthy and I went across to the hotel, to the park, and spoke to the protestors. I can't remember what I said, or what he said for that matter. But it was tense. You could sort of smell the tension in the air, and you knew that the police had beaten people the night before and would beat them again if they got any provocation or any chance. So I don't remember what I said, but I remember standing on some kind of platform and speaking to these people.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
Did you have them, I thought I'd read, flash lights in support something—.
JULIAN BOND:
I asked the people in the hotel to turn on their lights inside. I can't remember. That was the time people were lighting lighters and holding up candles and all that sort of stuff.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
Right. I'm also curious after the whole to-do with the Supreme Court refusing to seat you, how you were treated. You talked a little bit about it but—
JULIAN BOND:
Initially, I was treated as an invisible man. Other legislators would talk to the fellow who sat next to me and ask them how I was doing. He would

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say, "Julian's doing fine." But eventually they treated me like a vote. I was a vote like everybody in that room was a vote. You could get my vote or you couldn't get my vote. But you had to talk to me to get my vote. You had to argue, make some argument with me. So eventually I began to be treated like everybody else. But it took about a year and a half.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
When did you first decide to run for, what were the circumstances surrounding your decision to run for the legislature?
JULIAN BOND:
The federal courts had reapportioned the legislature creating these brand new seats with no incumbent, open seats. In an adjacent seat, a fellow I knew was running. He said, "Why don't you run?" I had never in [my] life thought about this before. First, because it wasn't possible to do before this court decision. But I thought to myself, "He's doing it. He and I are the same age and have had the same experiences. If he can do it, I can do it." So I did it.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
And you went door-to-door campaigning?
JULIAN BOND:
Door-to-door campaigning, had little parties. We would get a case of Coke and give it to someone, and they'd invite their neighbors over. Invite their neighbors from a block around over, and I'd make a speech. Then I'd say, "If I do get elected, what is it you want me to do?" They would say. Then I would make that into my platform. The more and more of these parties that we had, the more refined the platform became. So I could honestly say that I was a people's candidate. I was running on a platform that the people had helped to write. Then I had a lot of help from SNCC people who would come into town. Atlanta was like a rest of recreation place for SNCC people. They'd come in from the field and spend a weekend or a couple of days and take

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it easy, relaxing. They would go out, and see these people were superior organizers because that's what they had done. They knew how to talk to people; they knew how to move among people; they knew how to interest people. So I had a campaign staff who I didn't have to pay of friends who just did an enormous amount of work for me. Plus we had our own printing press. So I could print my own campaign material. I had to raise money to print posters. We couldn't print posters. But I printed thousands of leaflets and flyers and passed them out.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
What were the reactions from people? Do remember any people in particular you met on the campaign trail?
JULIAN BOND:
Well, they had never seen a politician before. They were surprised that someone was asking them to vote for them. They had voted before. In Atlanta, black people had been voting for years. They had voted before. Voting was not new. But this kind of face-to-face campaigning was new. They were excited about it; they were entranced about it. No one had ever done this before.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
Did you ever envision that they would vote not to seat you?
JULIAN BOND:
No, no. I had no idea.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
What was your reaction when you heard that?
JULIAN BOND:
It was like a slap in the face because I had run for the office. I had won the election. I had defeated the other candidates. I had done everything you had to do. I was old enough. I had met every qualification. I could not imagine that somebody could say that the people who voted for me made a mistake. It was just beyond my imagination. But of course, they did.

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ELIZABETH GRITTER:
What did you do in the meantime between getting elected and being refused the seat?
JULIAN BOND:
Well I won the election. They threw me out, called a new election. I ran in that election. I won that election. They threw me out again. Then another election was set for November of that year. So I spent a lot of time campaigning. I ran three elections in a year and a half.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
Wow. You had a lot of support. There was a UN luncheon.
JULIAN BOND:
Oh yes, Harry Belafonte. Another Harry Belafonte moment who has always been interested in African affairs and international affairs. He arranged a lunch at the UN for me with African ambassadors, because the issue here was my right to be critical of American foreign policy. These Africans were also critical of American foreign policy. So it was helpful to have their support. It gave me a forum that I wouldn't have had ordinarily.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
Right. Was this a result of the SNCC statement on Vietnam?
JULIAN BOND:
Yes, that was the trigger that set it all off.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
Did you help draft the document at all?
JULIAN BOND:
No.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
But you said you agreed with it and that's how it worked out.
JULIAN BOND:
Yes, I agreed with it.

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ELIZABETH GRITTER:
Let's see here. Also, to get in a question in about Atlanta in terms of the circumstances surrounding your arrest? You were arrested in Atlanta.
JULIAN BOND:
Oh, for the first time?
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
Yeah.
JULIAN BOND:
Well, we, you know, had gathered together this large group of people. We knew about the sit-ins in North Carolina. We knew we were going to have them in Atlanta. So we picked out several targets. We picked public places, that is restaurants and tax-supported buildings and public buildings. I was assigned, I don't know how, the Atlanta City Hall, and so I took a group there. We went through the steam lines and got to the cashier and she wouldn't take our money and called, asked us to leave, and we wouldn't leave. Called the police. They came and they asked us to leave. We wouldn't leave, and they put us under arrest.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
Then you pled not guilty?
JULIAN BOND:
Not guilty and was bound over to a country court and was bailed out.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
Was that the only time you were arrested?
JULIAN BOND:
No, I was arrested a couple of times more. I was arrested many years later at a grocery store in Atlanta that was selling South African peaches. We wanted them to take the peaches out. So we went through a grocery store and filled up our carts. About twenty of us lined up at the check out lines and wouldn't move. So they couldn't do any business.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
So they were selling— [Here I make it known I'm a little confused].

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JULIAN BOND:
They were selling South African peaches. This was before apartheid ended.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
Oh, okay.
JULIAN BOND:
We said you shouldn't be selling South African peaches. They called the police and arrested us. Then I got arrested here, right down here on Wisconsin Avenue, in front of the South African embassy, where I just went to lunch with Nelson Mandela a few weeks ago. So you see how things change. Those were the three times I've been arrested.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
What were the circumstances surrounding your arrest at the embassy?
JULIAN BOND:
My then-wife, my son–one of my sons—and my daughter and I knocked on the door. This was when everyday somebody would get arrested at the South African embassy. We'd knock on the door and ask to see the ambassador. No one would come. The building was open. There were people inside. They wouldn't come. Or if they did come, we'd ask to see him and they'd say you can't see him. We'd say, "Well we'll wait till we can." They'd call the police and the police arrested us, handcuffed us.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
When was this?
JULIAN BOND:
I don't know. I don't remember.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
Was it in the '80s?
JULIAN BOND:
Yeah, I guess in the '80s.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
Okay. I see the time is running out. So—
END OF INTERVIEW