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Commencement January 1971 records

Identifier: 00.CJ


The Commencement January 1971 records document the controversy surrounding Eastern Michigan University's selection of Julian Bond to deliver the commencement speech for January 1971. The collection contains letters of protest, the University's response, a copy of Mr. Bonds commencement address and photographs of Mr. Bond. Records in the collection date between 1970 and 1971.


  • 1970 - 1971


Conditions Governing Access

Researchers are asked to request materials 24 hours prior to visiting the the University Archives.

Biographical note

Julian Bond, born Horace Julian Bond is an American Socialist and Civils Rights activist. Born in Nashville, Tennessee on January 14, 1940, Bond graduated from the George School, a Quaker co-educational boarding school in Bucks County, Pennsylvania in 1957. That same year he entered Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. Bond left Morehouse short of graduation in 1961 to join the staff of protest newspaper, the Atlanta Inquirer returning in 1971 to earn his Bachelors of Arts in English.

In 1960, he founded the Committee on Appeal for Human Rights (COAHR), an Atlanta student civil rights organization which directed non-violent anti-segregation protests that led to integration of lunch counters, parks, and movie theatres. He also helped establish the Students National Coordinating Committee (SNCC), later becoming SNCC’s Communications Director.

In 1965, Bond was elected to a one-year term to the Georgia House of Representatives after the passage of the Civil Rights Act and Voters Act of 1965, but members of the house voted not to seat him due to public opposition of the Vietnam War. In 1966, Bond won both a second and third election to fill his vacant seat which the members also voted down, leading to a unanimous ruling by the United States Supreme Court that Bond’s rights had been violated by the Georgia House. Bond went on to serve four terms in the House and six in the Senate. Bond became the first black chair of the Fulton County Senate Delegation.

In 1970, controversy arose when Eastern Michigan University announced that Bond was scheduled to receive an honorary degree of law and speak at winter commencement in January 1971. Many disagreed with the University’s decision citing his actions and affiliations with organizations they deemed as subversive. Bend ultimately delivered the commencement speech.

Bond holds honorary degrees from more than twenty schools including, Dalhousie University, Wesleyan University, Bates College, George Washington University, Lincoln University (PA), Wilberforce College, Patterson State College, New Hampshire College, Detroit Institute of Technology, Howard University.


0.2 Linear Feet (1 halfsize archive box)

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Related Materials

For related materials, see the following collection:

Commencement records [00.C]

Commencment January 1971 records
Amber Davis
2014 October 24
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Eastern Michigan University Archives Repository

Bruce T. Halle Library, Room 310
955 West Circle Drive
Ypsilanti Michigan 48197