President Emeritus, Julian Bond

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Bond, a civil rights pioneer associated with the movement’s radical wing (he was a founder of the leftist Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, known as SNCC), was SPLC’s first president (1971–1979) and now serves as the Center’s president emeritus and a member of its Board of Directors.

Bond has had a varied career as a state legislator, academic, and chairman of the NAACP, but accusations of heavy cocaine use from his estranged wife and political opponents in the 1980s and ‘90s marred his reputation (and perhaps pointed to a problem that reduced his effectiveness).

Julian Bond


Unlike many of the civil rights movement’s adherents, Bond has championed black-Jewish collaboration, and is currently married to the former Pamela Horowitz.

Bond is an ardent proponent of gay marriage, and has described the Confederate battle flag as the “Confederate swastika”—all of which makes him a useful occasional spokesman for SPLC.

Bond was communications director for the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Commitee, which produced violent revolutionary black leader H. Rap Brown and anti-white racist Stokely Carmichael.

While SNCC is often described as merely a”civil rights organization,” it was in reality a virulent radical left political organization with a rhetoric that echoed Soviet and Maoist-inspired Marxist movements worldwide. SNCC had its roots in the Southern Negro Youth Congress, cofounded by James E. Jackson, Jr., who was Southern secretary of the Communist Party and editor of the party newspaper, The Worker.”Historians view the Southern Negro Youth Congress as the predecessor of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee,” said Michael Nash, director of the New York University library where Jackson’s papers are stored.

Bond fondly remembers that SNCC was far more radical than a conventional civil rights organization. “Unlike mainstream civil rights groups, which merely sought integration of blacks into the existing order, SNCC sought structural changes in American society itself,” Bond said in a 2000 talk, “SNCC: What We Did.”  Bond relates that SNCC “trained the activists who began the ‘New Left,’” and engaged in political organizing designed to “test its critique of American imperialism at the ballot box.”

In 1967, SNCC declared it was dedicated to the “liberation not only of black people in the United States but of all oppressed people, especially those in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.” In the U.S., SNCC exploited and exacerbated racial tensions between blacks and whites in the 1960s, and denounced the U.S. government of liberal Democrat President Lyndon Johnson for “terrorizing” and”oppressing” blacks. Its policy statement condemning U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War in 1968 said, “the United States government has never guaranteed the freedom of oppressed citizens, and is not yet truly determined to end the rule of terror and oppression within its own borders.” SNCC accused American troops of murder:”Vietnamese are murdered because the United States is pursuing an aggressive policy in violation of international law.”

In 1964, SNCC sent 11 members to establish ties with the one-party dictatorship of Marxist President Sekou Toure of Guinea. An advocate of Pan-African racial solidarity, Toure was awarded the Lenin Peace Prize in 1961.  Toure jailed and killed his political opponents, 50,000 of whom reportedly died in concentration camps.

The violence-prone H. Rap Brown, famous for his hate threat, “If America don’t come around, we’re gonna burn it down,” was chairman of the “nonviolent” SNCC in 1967 and was arrested that same year for inciting a riot in Cambridge, Maryland. The courthouse where Brown was to be tried was bombed. He later joined the anti-police hate group, the Black Panther Party, as its “Justice Minister” and served five years in prison for armed robbery. In 2002 he was convicted of killing one police officer and severely wounding another in Fulton, County, Georgia. The former SNCC leader now refers to himself as “Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin.”

Anti-white Stokely Carmichael, SNCC chairman in 1966, was an advocate of “black power,” and endorsed SNCC’s decision to exclude whites from the group’s voter registration drives, believing that integration was a white plot to maintain white supremacy. In 1966 and 1967 he traveled to North Vietnam, Cuba, and China to establish political ties with anti-American communist regimes. In Havana, the leader of the “nonviolent” SNCC said, “We are preparing groups of urban guerrillas for our defense in the cities. It is going to be a fight to the death.” He identified with Fidel Castro’s Che Guevera, saying, “The death of Che Guevera places a responsibility on all revolutionaries of the world to redouble their decision to fight on to the final defeat of imperialism. That is why in essence Che Guevera is not dead, his ideas are with us.” Carmichael hated Western civilization, which he hoped black people would soon destroy. “When you talk of black power, you talk of building a movement that will smash everything Western civilization has created,” he said in speeches, according to his obituary in the New York Times.

Speeches today by SNCC cofounder Bond don’t contain the kind of direct threats of violence hurled by his colleagues Brown and Carmichael, but they, too, are incendiary and pointedly racial. Bond’s speeches typically seek to establish black racial solidarity by inflaming hatred against whites, whom he regularly demonizes.

A speech to the NAACP in 2005, for example, was clearly designed to inflame racial tensions after the U.S. Senate overwhelmingly approved a resolution (with 79 cosponors) that apologized for failing to pass legislation 100 years ago against lynching. Not satisfied with the near unanimous apology, Bond was angry that the resolution passed by a voice vote instead of a roll call, allowing eight senate opponents to avoid recorded ‘no’ votes.

He recalled the brutal lynching in 1918 of a pregnant black woman, Mary Turner, by whites in Valdosta, Georgia, and denounced the opposing senators for not apologizing for her murder. “If a United States Senator, in the year 2005, can’t apologize for that, what outrage is deserving of an apology?” Bond thundered.

But no members of the Senate participated in the lynching; nor were they members of any earlier Senate that failed to pass anti-lynching legislation; and none (except Sen. Robert Byrd, born in 1917) were even alive at the time of the crime.

Bond then went even further, and depicted the eight senate opponents as members of the Ku Klux Klan, approvingly quoting a resolution supporter who said, “they’re hiding out, and it’s reminiscent of a pattern of hiding out under a hood in the night, riding past, scaring people.”

Smearing political opponents with hate-inspired slurs is typical of Bond. In 2001 he compared President George Bush’s cabinet appointees to Islamic terrorists, saying they “are from the Taliban wing of American politics.” He condemned the selection of Sen. John Ashcroft as Attorney General and Gale Norton as Interior Secretary as designed to “appease the wretched appetites of the extreme right-wing” because their “devotion to the Confederacy is nearly canine in its uncritical affection.”

The hallmark of Bond’s hate speeches is a casual willingness to pick at the scab of what is perhaps the greatest wound in American history, the Civil War, and to revive long-buried resentments and bring them back to life for to exacerbate racial tensions. In an especially vicious address to the NAACP, Bond inflamed his audience by comparing Republicans to Confederate leaders of 150 years ago. He railed that the GOP is “appealing to the dark underside of American culture, to that minority of Americans who reject democracy and equality.” He said “they embrace Confederate leaders as patriots,” and that”their idea of war reparations is to give war criminal Jefferson Davis a pardon.” He then wildly equated the Confederate South with Hitler’s Nazi Germany: “Their idea of equal rights is the American flag and Confederate swastika flying side by side,” he said.

When not smearing them as Klansmen or Confederates, Bond stirs up hate against white Republicans by comparing them to Nazi war criminals. In February 1970, United Press International reported that in an interview taped for Dutch radio, Bond was asked if he regarded President Richard Nixon as a friend of blacks. He replied, “If you could call Adolf Hitler a friend of the Jews, you could call President Nixon a friend of the blacks.” He added that he thought Nixon’s extermination methods were “much more subtle.”

Bond’s political history is steeped in left-wing radicalism. In 1968 he campaigned for radical lawyer Paul O’Dwyer in his ultimately failed bid for the U.S. Senate from New York. O’Dwyer had been president of the New York chapter of the communist-friendly National Lawyers Guild. In 1967, Bond was cochairman of the National Conference for New Politics, described by Sen. James O. Eastland, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, as “working hand in glove with the Communist Party.” He added, “the original goal of the NCNP was revolution in the United States….” The national council of the NCNP included Marxist theoretician Herbert Marcuse and the notorious Afro-racist Stokely Carmichael.

For decades Bond has charged that white government officials engage in conspiracies against black people. In 1970, UPI reported Bond’s accusation that there was a “conscious conspiracy” by all law enforcement agencies in the country to eradicate the Black Panther Party, including efforts by President Nixon to stage rigged trials for its members. “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, 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 by political trials, the kind they have in the Soviet Union,” he said.

In remarks to the NAACP convention in 2002, Bond alleged yet another conspiracy in high places, including at the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. “There is a vast right-wing conspiracy, and it’s operating out of the United States Department of Justice and the Office of the White House Counsel and the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. There is an interlocking network of funders, groups and activists who coordinate their methods and their message. They are the money, the motivation and the movement behind attacks on justice everywhere,” he said.

Bond accuses whites of being determined to discriminate against blacks, and suggests only force can stop them. Even though blacks have served as big city mayors, congressmen, senators, governors, federal judges and Supreme Court justices, cabinet secretaries, as secretary of defense, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, national security advisor, and President of the U.S., and have achieved multi-millionaire success in business, movies, television, music, sports, and all other aspects of popular culture, and even though white-run institutions have established affirmative action programs that give blacks first-in-line treatment for college admissions and employment, Bond told the NAACP’s 97th convention, “the quest for meaningful equality — political and economic equity — remains unfulfilled today.” Turning the knife, he told his mostly black audience that whites will always discriminate against them in the absence of force: “The history of racial struggle in America is a hymn to self-help and an acknowledgment that white Americans will not and cannot voluntarily end discrimination.”