Julian Bond, the civil rights icon who taught at the University of Virginia for two decades, died in 2015. Now the university has mounted an effort to make his collection of papers, speeches, and other documents available to the world through a crowdsourced transcription effort, which will be the first step in the creation of an online digital archive.
On August 15, individuals who join the transcription effort will be asked to go to five locations in Charlottesville where they will transcribe some of Bond’s speeches. People interested in participating in the transcription effort will also be able to contribute to the project online.
Deborah McDowell, Alice Griffin Professor of English at the University of Virginia, stated that “Bond’s speeches, in particular, illuminate much about the history and challenges of social struggle and political activism. This new project, designed to collect these speeches in one place, represents one example of what we hope will be an ongoing and mutually beneficial collaboration on digital humanities projects across the university.”
Professor Bond was born in Nashville. At the age of 5, he moved with his family to Pennsylvania when his father was named president of Lincoln University.
After high school, Julian Bond enrolled at Morehouse College in Atlanta. There, he was a leader of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. In 1961, Bond dropped out of college to devote all of his energies to the civil rights movement. He later returned to Morehouse to earn his bachelor’s degree in 1971.
In 1965, Bond was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives and served for 20 years in the state legislature. In 1971, he was a co-founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Alabama, and remained on the center’s board of directors until his death.
In 1998, Professor Bond was elected chair of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and continued in that role until 2010. He taught history at the University of Virginia for 20 years, retiring in 2012.
Teresa A. Sullivan, president of the University of Virginia, said that “Julian Bond made significant contributions to the University of Virginia, teaching thousands of our students while serving as a mentor and role model for all of us. As a driving force for social change for more than a half-century, he had an extraordinary impact on our university, our community and our nation.”