NAACP Chairman of the Board
JULIAN BOND was born on January 14, 1940 in Nashville, Tennessee, son of Julia Washington and Horace Bond. He married Alice Clapton. He attended but did not graduate from Morehouse College.
In 1960, Bond began a career as a racial agitator when he participated in an Atlanta sit-in. Out of that experience, he co-founded the Committee on Appeal for Human Rights, which soon merged with the racist and revolutionary Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (Snick), a creation of Martin L. King Jr. From 1961 until 1966, Bond was on the payroll of Snick as its communications director. During the same period, he spent a few years in the employ of the Atlanta Inquirer as a reporter and managing editor.
In November 1965, Bond won an election to Georgia’s House of Representatives. On January 10, 1966, members of the House voted (184-12) to deny him his seat. (They objected to Bond’s endorsement of a Snick statement describing U.S. participation in the Vietnam War as aggression and urging young Americans to avoid the draft.) On February 10, 1966, a three-judge federal district court heard an appeal from Bond and upheld the Georgia House’s decision to deny him his seat. On February 23, 1966, Bond won a special election to the same House seat, but the legislature had adjourned. In May 1966, the House Rules Committee, acting for the full House, voted unanimously against seating Bond. In June 1966, the Supreme Court of the United States agreed to hear Bond’s case.
When Bond was denied his seat in Georgia’s House, he became a hero to the far left. The Communists’ Worker gave him its enthusiastic editorial support. Martin L. King Jr. organized a march upon Georgia’s capitol in Atlanta. At the United Nations, delegates from fifteen African nations held a luncheon to honor Bond. Guests at the luncheon included such notorious racist agitators as Martin L. King Jr., James Forman, Bayard Rustin, and Harry Belafonte. A Citizens Committee for Julian Bond was formed. It had the usual lineup of leftist luminaries, including Martin L. King Jr., Carey McWilliams, Sidney Poitier, A. Philip Randolph, Bayard Rustin, Benjamin Spock, Ben Shahn, Norman Thomas, Dagmar Wilson, Michael Harrington, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, and twenty-four members from the far left wing of the Democratic Party in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Meanwhile, Bond was making points on the Left. He travelled to New York where he campaigned for leftist Paul O’Dwyer, who was seeking nomination to the U.S. Senate. Before a group of young leftists in New York, Bond issued a call for "an organized movement of Negroes to avoid military service on racial grounds. We’re first class citizens on the battlefield but second class citizens at home. Why fight for a country that has never fought for you?" In 1966, Bond participated in the Communists’ National Guardian forum on politics and policy. He became co-chairman of the National Conference for New Politics, a classical united front third party movement largely controlled by the Communist Party. (Communist Joseph North, writing in the Worker, said: "When I came across Julian Bond’s name as co-chairman of the National Conference for New Politics, I rejoiced.")
In 1966, Bond joined the Voters’ Pledge Campaign, which was designed to support "peace" candidates who would work for a cease-fire in Vietnam and encourage negotiations in which the Vietcong would be participants. (Since 1966, Bond has touched many leftist bases. He is a board member of the Southern Conference Education Fund, the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Fund, the Martin L. King Memorial Fund, and the Highlander Research and Education Center. He is a member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the National Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy, and Ralph Abernathy’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference. In 1969, he joined the Committee to Defend the Conspiracy, on behalf of the notorious "Chicago Eight," five of whom were convicted of violating the anti-riot provision of the 1968 Civil Rights Act by crossing state lines with the intent to incite a riot. Bond even testified on behalf of the defendants in the "Conspiracy" trial.)
In November 1966, Bond was again elected to Georgia’s House of Representatives; and in December 1966, the Supreme Court of the United States, led by Earl Warren and prompted by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, decided that Bond should never have been denied his place in the House. It was the first time any United States court had ever ruled that a state legislature did not have the right to set qualifications for its Own members.
The decision of the Supreme Court made Bond one of the nation’s most famous state legislators. In March 1967, the Southern Conference Education Fund held a dinner in honor of Bond. (The SCEF was the successor to the Southern Conference for Human Welfare, which had been a very active Communist front. Bond became a member of the board of SCEF.)
By April 1967, Bond had joined David Dellinger’s Spring Mobilization to End the War in Vietnam. At a massive Mobe demonstration in San Francisco’s Kezar Stadium, he was a featured participant, together with such leftist luminaries as Coretta King, Robert Vaughn, and Eldridge Cleaver.
In June 1967, Bond granted an interview to the Communists’ Worker. He suggested that a 1968 presidential ticket should be composed of Martin L. King Jr. and Benjamin Spock. He parroted the Martin L. King line on the Vietnam War:
"The poor have no bread to put any butter on, because the war on poverty has been decimated by the drain on funds for the war in Vietnam. We are spending $56 billion for that war but a trickle for aiding the poor. In the South the program has been cut to nothing." He also echoed King when he discussed violence: "The Negro leaders and the Negro people are not the sponsors of violence. The cause of violence is poverty, lack of jobs, segregation, slums, disease, hunger. Take them away and you won’t have violence. It’s not the Negro leaders who are stirring up violence, it’s these issues and the failure of the government to solve them." (On a later occasion, Bond did a masterful bit of rewriting history when he said: "The conservatives always are the perpetrators of violence." Historically, he said, violence "always comes from the right.")
By February 1968, Bond had changed his mind about a presidential ticket. He endorsed comedian and street demonstrator Dick Gregory as a presidential candidate, with Benjamin Spock as his vice-presidential running mate. Such "peace" candidates, according to Bond, would "drive out the aggression against the poor in America rather than the imaginary aggression from Hanoi."
The 1968 Democratic National Convention was the scene of Bond’s most spectacular political triumph. At the convention, Bond was spokesman for the Southern Challenge Coordinating Committee, a delegation which set out to replace the regular convention delegates who had been selected by the Georgia Democratic Party. Bond’s group was successful to the extent that they were awarded one-half of the seats in Georgia’s delegation; and before the convention was concluded, Bond was nominated for the vice presidency of the United States, and received 43 % of the votes before he withdrew his name from consideration, his enthusiastic supporters having overlooked the fact that Bond was seven years too young to be eligible for the vice presidency.
After the Chicago convention, Bond was deluged with offers to speak at high schools and colleges across the country. Life magazine has hailed Bond as "the clearest, sanest, and one of the most responsible voices from the New Left." To one group, the clear, sane, and responsible voice of Bond said: "The police forces in this country are so ready, willing, and eager to retaliate [against violence by blacks]. I wouldn’t be surprised if you saw them napalming people in the big cities within five years or so."
Before his student audiences, Bond offers New Left demagoguery, heavily salted with racism: The Vietnam war is a "racist" war. — "Asking a black man to help himself is like asking a man with no boots to pull himself up by the bootstraps." — Black people "with a hot dog pocketbook have won the right to eat steaks." — "The churches seemed like the ideal place to begin" demanding reparations for the black people. American blacks "want it [money] and need it — the churches have it. I don’t think the churches are the only ones." He suggests that American business and industry pay reparations to the blacks and says the money could be used to build homes, to improve education, and in "one hundred thousand ways" by Negroes. The reparations fund could be administered through some kind of "national social welfare agency." — Democratic processes are "cumbersome and usually unresponsive" to blacks, who have "little or no access to the power center in America."
Bond skirts around forthright advocacy of violence but his equivocation is quite transparent: "I’m not saying I agree with anybody burning down anybody’s home or business. But people who are cooped up are frightened and respond." — He can envision people seizing public facilities in an effort to achieve their goals. People who want and deserve welfare assistance could, for example, take over the welfare agencies.
— Columbia University students seized campus buildings because "the democratic procedures not only are not working — they’re not available."
Bond portrays America as gripped in an economic and class war, with the blacks on the losing side: "Instead of land or money, poor people are offered programs." — Americans spend as much for chewing gum as they do for the Model Cities program; as much for pet food as for food stamps for the poor.
Bond insists that "black capitalism" is not the answer to the Negroes’ plight. He offers a Marxist solution of "community socialism" whereby a neighborhood has "the say in who gets how much and what from whom."
In January 1970, during an interview he taped for a television program in The Netherlands, Bond engaged in some exemplary tastelessness: "There seems to me to be a conscious conspiracy on the part of local police forces and state police forces and the federal police force [sic] — the Federal Bureau of Investigation. I think it comes from President Nixon and Attorney General Mitchell making a serious attempt to destroy the Black Panthers. They do it in two ways — one by political assassination and [the other] by political trials, the kind they have in the Soviet Union." When asked by his interviewer if President Nixon could be called a friend of the blacks, Bond replied: "If you could call Adolf Hitler a friend of the Jews, you could call President Nixon a friend of the blacks."
Biographical Dictionary of the Left, Francis X. Gannon
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