U.Va. Library Acquires Papers of Civil Rights Leader Julian Bond

March 26, 2008 — The University of Virginia Library has acquired the personal papers of civil rights activist and U.Va. history professor Julian Bond. One of the first African Americans to reach national prominence in politics, Bond is a former Georgia state legislator who began his political career as a founder of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, known for its voter registration drives in the South. Currently, he chairs the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

The collection holds 47,000 items, including photographs, recordings and drafts of more than 300 speeches. It contains Bond's correspondence with influential civil rights activists and memorabilia from the many organizations, schools and events that he supported. The collection also chronicles Bond's service in the Georgia General Assembly, and documents his 1976 presidential run and leadership of the NAACP. The papers complement the library's existing collection of records of the Southern Elections Fund, an early political action committee that Bond founded to aid the election of rural Southern black candidates.

"The Bond Papers give us a fascinating picture of an extraordinary life," said University Librarian Karin Wittenborg. "The collection is a wonderful addition to the study of history and the Civil Rights Movement here at U.Va., and I look forward to seeing them used by students and faculty."

"I am overjoyed that my papers have found a home at the University of Virginia Library," said Bond. "The University is where I've spent the bulk of my academic career and where scholarship of the Civil Rights Era is valued. I hope scholars and students will find the Bond papers a useful resource in helping shape future thinking about the Civil Rights Era."

The holder of 25 honorary degrees, Bond also is a Distinguished Scholar in Residence at American University in Washington. In 2002, he received the Freedom Award from the National Civil Rights Museum.

The Bond Papers are described in the Library's online catalog and can be viewed in the Albert and Small Special Collections Library on U.Va.'s central Grounds.

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