- NAACP's current chairman
- Co-founder of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in the 1960s
- Longtime admirer of Fidel Castro
- Has many ties to socialist and communist causes
- Views America as an irremediably racist nation
Also in 1965, Bond was elected to the Georgia State Assembly. But in January 1966, the Assembly refused to seat him, citing Bond's endorsement of an SNCC directive that urged young black men to illegally avoid the military draft. A second election, and then a third, yielded the same result. In 1967, however, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Georgia House had violated Bond's free-speech rights in refusing him his seat. Thus Bond joined the State Assembly, where he served four terms (from 1967-74) and organized the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus.
In 1966 Bond was a sponsor of the Radical Education Project, a Michigan-based endeavor describing itself as “an independent education, research and publication program, initiated by Students for a Democratic Society, devoted to the cause of democratic radicalism and aspiring to the creation of a new left in America.”
As the 1960s progressed, Bond emerged as a rising star of the American left. He was endorsed by the Communist Party, participated in Communist political forums, and campaigned for Communist and leftwing politicians. In 1967 Bond served as co-chair of the National Conference for New Politics (NCNP), described by Senator James Eastland as a group “working hand-in-glove with the Communist Party” to foment “revolution in the United States.” Notably, NCNP's national council included the Marxist theoretician Herbert Marcuse and the notorious black racist Stokely Carmichael.
Bond also participated in the increasingly radicalized anti-war movement of the late 1960s, at one point endorsing Dick Gregory and Benjamin Spock as presidential candidates. He led a move to unseat the legitimately selected Georgia delegation at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. And he testified on behalf of the infamous Chicago Seven, five of whom were convicted of crossing state lines to incite a riot at that convention.
In the late Sixties, Bond voiced his concern that police might start napalming blacks in America's inner cities, and openly suggested that the poor might legitimately seize property by force in order to achieve their goals.
During the same period, Bond also began discussing the possibility of financial reparations for slavery, suggesting that churches as well as the federal government should give money to African Americans.
In 1968 Bond campaigned for the failed U.S. Senate campaign of radical lawyer Paul O’Dwyer, who had served as president of the National Lawyers Guild's New York chapter.
In a February 1970 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.” Bond added that Nixon’s extermination methods were “much more subtle” than Hitler's.
That same year, Bond stated angrily: “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.”
In 1971 Bond returned to Morehouse College to complete his undergraduate studies, earning a bachelor's degree in English.
Also in 1971, Bond collaborated with Morris Dees to co-found the Southern Poverty Law Center. Bond became the organization's first president, and he continues to sit on its board of directors to this day.
In 1973 Bond was an “initiator” of the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee, forerunner of Democratic Socialists of America (DSA). Other notable initiators included Heather Booth, John Conyers, and Ron Dellums. Bond went on to become a member of DSA.
Shortly after a 1974 pro-communist military coup in Portugal, Bond and more than eighty fellow American leftists sent a cablegram to to the Portugese Armed Forces Movement, Portugese President Francisco da Costa Gomes, and Portugese socialist leader Mario Soares, expressing the hope that “democratic freedoms … will continue to grow in Portugal.” Other signers of that letter included Noam Chomsky, Barbara Ehrenreich, Daniel Ellsburg, Michael Harrington, Herbert Marcuse, and Paul Sweezy.
Also in 1974, Bond was elected to the Georgia Senate. He would retire from that body in order to run for Congress in 1986, an election he lost to John Lewis.
In 1978 Bond became president of the Atlanta NAACP, a post he would hold until 1989.
In 1979 Bond was a co-founder of the Citizens Party, an entity affiliated with the Institute for Policy Studies (where Bond himself has lectured on occasion). Other founders included Richard Barnet, Chicago activist Don Rose, and Quentin Young.
In 1980 Bond began hosting America’s Black Forum, the oldest black-owned program in television syndication. He continued to host the show until 1997, and occasionally appears as a commentator on the program to this day. Bond also has narrated a number of documentaries (including Eyes on the Prize, PBS’s award-winning production about the civil-rights movement).
In 1982 Bond endorsed the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, a Communist Party USA front headed by Angela Davis and other leading CPUSA members.
In 1989 Bond was a founding member of the Institute for Southern Studies, a non-profit media and research center that advocates for progressive political and social causes in the Southern United States. Among the Institute's other founding members were such notables as John Lewis and Marcus Raskin.
In 1990 Bond wrote a tribute in honor of Debbie Bell, a Black Radical Congress treasurer and a local Communist Party chairwoman, on the occasion of a banquet that was being held in her honor. Organized by the Communist Party of Eastern Pennsylvania & Delaware, this banquet was named for the Peoples Weekly World, official newspaper of the Communist Party. In his tribute, Bond described Ms. Bell as “part of a band of brothers and sisters who dared risk life and limb to make American democracy live up to its promise.”
In 1993 the Democratic Socialists of America's Eugene V. Debs/Norman Thomas/Michael Harrington Dinner Committee, named in honor of three prominent American socialists, presented Bond with an award at its annual dinner banquet. The award specifically cited Bond's “lifetime as a leader in the movement for social justice.”
In 1996 Bond was one of approximately 130 people who played a role in founding the Campaign for America's Future (CAF). For a list of other key CAF founders, click here.
After having served four terms on the NAACP's national board, Bond in 1998 was elected chairman of the organization, a post he has held ever since.
Viewing America as an irremediably racist nation, Bond in 1999 said: “Everywhere we see clear racial fault lines, which divide American society as much now as at any time in our past.” That same year, he declared: "Republicans remade themselves as the white people's party."
In 2001 Bond asserted that President George W. Bush’s cabinet appointees “are from the Taliban wing of American politics.”
The selection of John Ashcroft as Attorney General and Gale Norton as Interior Secretary, Bond added, were designed to “appease the wretched appetites of the extreme right wing” whose “devotion to the Confederacy is nearly canine in its uncritical affection.”
In December 2001, Bond praised longtime Communist Party USA leader James E. Jackson, Jr., an individual described by CPUSA executive vice-chair Jarvis Tyner as “a consummate teacher of Marxism-Leninism.”
In 2002 Bond told an NAACP convention that black conservatives were participants in “an interlocking network of funders, groups and activists [who] are the money, the motivation and the movement behind vouchers, the legal assault on affirmative action and other remedies for discrimination, attempts to reapportion us out of office, and attacks on equity everywhere.” These conservatives, Bond said, are “black hustlers and hucksters ... [who], like ventriloquists’ dummies, speak in their puppet master’s voice.” Bond further called anti-affirmative action campaigner Ward Connerly a “fraud” and a “con man.”
In 2002 the Indiana-based Eugene V. Debs Foundation honored Bond at its annual Award Banquet.
In a 2004 address to the NAACP, Bond likened Republicans to Confederate leaders from the Civil War era. Accusing the GOP of “appealing to the dark underside of American culture, to that minority of Americans who reject democracy and equality,” Bond said: “they embrace Confederate leaders as patriots”; “their idea of war reparations is to give war criminal Jefferson Davis a pardon”; and “their idea of equal rights is the American flag and Confederate swastika flying side by side.”
In a 2005 speech to an NAACP gathering, Bond spoke about a then-recent U.S. Senate resolution apologizing for the American government's failure to have passed anti-lynching legislation a century earlier. Not satisfied with the near-unanimous support that the Senate measure received, Bond thundered: “If a United States Senator, in the year 2005, can’t apologize for that, what outrage is deserving of an apology?” Likening the bill's eight Senate opponents to Klansmen, Bond approvingly quoted a resolution supporter who had said, of those opponents, “They’re hiding out, and it’s reminiscent of a pattern of hiding out under a hood in the night, riding past, scaring people.”
In February 2006, at Fayetteville State University in Arkansas, Bond repeated his previous charge that Republicans’ “idea of equal rights is the American flag and the Confederate swastika flying side by side.”
When his comments subsequently sparked a firestorm of criticism, Bond accused “right-wing blogs” of having mischaracterized his statement: “I didn’t say these things I’m alleged to have said. There is no one in the audience who can say I said them.” But shortly thereafter, the Fayetteville Observer posted, online, a 45-minute recording of Bond’s speech, proving that he had indeed made the comments. Moreover, in the same speech, Bond had implied that Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice were token black appointees whom the Bush Administration was exploiting as “human shields against any criticism of [its] record on civil rights.”
At the NAACP’s 97th convention in July 2006, Bond lamented that “the quest for meaningful equality—political and economic equity—remains unfulfilled today.... 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.”
In 2006 Bond served on the national advisory board of the Apollo Alliance, an organization founded by the revolutionary communist Van Jones. Other notable advisory board members were Carl Pope, Leo Gerard, and Jesse Jackson, Jr.
In 2008 Bond served on the board of directors for American Rights at Work, an organization that promotes the unionization of employees.
Despite possessing only a B.S. degree from Morehouse College, Bond has been, at various times, a Pappas Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania and a Visiting Professor at Drexel University, Harvard University, and Williams College. He is currently a Distinguished Scholar in Residence at the American University in Washington, DC, and a Professor in the University of Virginia's Department of History.