Horace Julian Bond (January 14, 1940 – August 15, 2015), known as Julian Bond, was an American social activist and leader in the Civil Rights Movement, politician, professor, and writer. While a student at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, during the early 1960s, he helped to establish the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).
Bond was elected to four terms in the Georgia House of Representatives and later to six terms in the Georgia Senate, having served a combined twenty years in both legislative chambers. From 1998 to 2010, he was chairman of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the first president of the Southern Poverty Law Center.
In 1965, Bond was one of eleven African Americans elected to the Georgia House of Representatives after passage of the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act of 1965 had opened voter registration to blacks. By ending the disfranchisement of blacks through discriminatory voter registration, African Americans regained the ability to vote and entered the political process. Although he was initially undecided about his party affiliation, Bond ultimately ran and was elected as a Democrat, the party of President Lyndon B. Johnson, who had signed the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act into law. On January 10, 1966, Georgia state representatives voted 184-12 not to seat him because he had publicly endorsed SNCC’s policy regarding opposition to U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. They disliked Bond’s stated sympathy for persons who were “unwilling to respond to a military draft”. A three-judge panel on the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia ruled in a 2-1 decision that the Georgia House had not violated any of Bond’s constitutional rights. In 1966, the United States Supreme Court ruled 9-0 in the case of Bond v. Floyd (385 U.S. 116) that the Georgia House of Representatives had denied Bond his freedom of speech and was required to seat him. From 1967 to 1975, Bond was elected to four terms in the Georgia House, where he organized the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus.
In January 1967, Bond was among eleven House members who refused to vote when the legislature elected segregationist Lester Maddox of Atlanta as governor of Georgia over the Republican Howard Callaway. Callaway had led in the 1966 general election by some three thousand votes. The choice fell on state lawmakers under the Georgia Constitution of 1824 because neither major party candidate had polled a majority in the general election. Former Governor Ellis Arnall polled more than fifty thousand votes as a write-in candidate, a factor which led to the impasse. Bond would not support either Maddox or Callaway, although he was ordered to vote by lame duck Lieutenant Governor Peter Zack Geer.
Bond became the first president of the Southern Poverty Law Center in 1971. He served until 1979, remaining a board member and president emeritus for the rest of his life.
In 1998, Bond was selected as chairman of the NAACP. In November 2008, he announced that he would not seek another term as chairman. Bond agreed to stay on in the position through 2009, as the organization celebrated its 100th anniversary. Roslyn M. Brock was chosen as Bond’s successor on February 20, 2010.