With ties to Lincoln University, civil rights activist Julian Bond recalled as personifying school’s legacy

 Julian Bond, one of the founders of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and an American social activist, watches a presentation on overhead video screens at the 50th Anniversary Freedom Summer conference at Tougaloo College in Jackson, Mississippi in June 2014. Bond died, whose father was the first black president of Lincoln University, has died at 75. (AP file photo)

Julian Bond, one of the founders of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and an American social activist, watches a presentation on overhead video screens at the 50th Anniversary Freedom Summer conference at Tougaloo College in Jackson, Mississippi in June 2014. Bond died, whose father was the first black president of Lincoln University, has died at 75. (AP file photo)

Civil rights leader Julian Bond died Saturday  in Florida at age 75.

Bond, the former chairman of the NAACP and first president of the Southern Poverty Law Center, had ties to the region.

 

He grew up in Pennsylvania after his father, Horace Mann Bond, became Lincoln University’s first African-American president in 1945.

Richard Green, Lincoln’s interim president, said Monday Bond was an example of the legacy of the university.

“He was certainly very much concerned about civil rights and an advocate of African-Americans, but not just for African-Americans but all citizens of the nation and the world,” he said.

Green, who said the school community is deeply saddened, said he has a personal connection from growing up in Louisville, Kentucky, a block away from Bond’s family members.

He saw Bond occasionally when he visited Louisville.

“My personal impression was that he was very charismatic, and his approach was a balanced approach,” he said. “And just his mode of delivery of his speeches captured the imagination of those he interacted with.”

Green admired Bond’s work for civil rights when he came to Louisville.

 

“He was there after I finished high school as part of civil rights groups with Martin Luther King and SNCC, as part of the Civil Rights Movement.”

 

Bond received an honorary degree from Lincoln in 1970, and school officials say they will be planning a memorial.

 

While Bond’s father served as Lincoln’s president for 12 years, Bond grew up on campus in Chester County, school officials said.

He graduated from George School, a Quaker high school in Bucks County, in 1957.

Bond, an anti-war activist, helped found the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and credited the Quaker school with introducing him to nonviolent social change, according to the school’s website.

He served in the Georgia Legislature in the state House and Senate. His seat in the Georgia state House was initially refused for his stance against the Vietnam War, according to the NAACP website.

In 1968, he became the first African-American nominated for vice president. He had to withdraw his name because, at 29,  he was too young, according to the NAACP website.

He taught at several universities, including Penn and Drexel.

Bond was also a vocal opponent of moving the Barnes Foundation’s private art collection — overseen by Lincoln University — from Merion in Montgomery County to Philadelphia.

He was featured in the 2009 documentary “Art of the Steal,” about the breaking of Barnes’ will and the subsequent controversial move.

“I think not only will Barnes be violated by having it moved, he’ll be violated in the experience he wanted you to have,” Bond said in the documentary. “And that’s important because it was his art. It belonged to him. He had the right to do with it as he chose. And these people, these vandals, stepped in and took it away from him.”

In the documentary, Bond states his father, while president of Lincoln, befriended Albert Barnes, founder of the Barnes Foundation. From that friendship began the relationship between Lincoln University and Barnes Foundation, considered one of the world’s greatest collections of post-Impressionist and early modern art.

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