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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Julian Bond, November 1 and 22, 1999. Interview R-0345. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

A Quaker school exposed Bond to pacifist ideas

Having the economic means to obtain a quality education for their children, Bond's parents enrolled their children in an integrated Quaker school in Philadelphia. There, Bond learned nonviolent strategies, which informed his later posture with civil rights activism.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Julian Bond, November 1 and 22, 1999. Interview R-0345. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

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 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.