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Horace Mann Bond (1904–1972) - Career, Publications and Scholarly Pursuits, Family Life

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President of two historically black colleges from 1939 to 1957, and dean of the School of Education at Atlanta University from 1957 until shortly before his death in 1972, Horace Mann Bond was also a historian and social scientific observer of the condition of African Americans. He was born on November 8, 1904, in Nashville, Tennessee, the sixth of seven children of a Congregationalist minister and a teacher, both of whom had attended Oberlin College. Bond grew up as his father pastored various churches and took other ministerial positions in Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama, and Atlanta, Georgia. He attended schools in Alabama and Georgia and graduated from the Lincoln (Kentucky) Institute, a high school for African Americans indirectly tied to Berea College. His collegiate career began at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, from where he graduated, and continued with postbaccalaureate study at the Pennsylvania State College (now University). He did his graduate work at the University of Chicago, from which he earned a master's degree and a Ph.D. in education, with an emphasis on the history and sociology of education. He finished his doctorate in 1936. Among his teachers were Newton Edwards in history of education, Frank S. Freeman in tests and measurements, and Robert Park in sociology. His family valued education enormously, encouraging all their children to achieve to their utmost. Horace's closest sibling, J. Max Bond, also earned his doctorate in education and had a rewarding academic career.


Bond worked at a variety of academic institutions before finishing his doctorate, including Langston University in Langston, Oklahoma; Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee; and Dillard University in New Orleans, Louisiana. He also worked as a researcher for a time for the Julius Rosenwald Fund, a philanthropic organization with which he would maintain a close, working relationship for approximately two decades, lasting until its dissolution in 1948. He worked his way up in the hierarchy of black colleges, becoming a dean at Dillard in 1934, chairman of the education department at Fisk University later in that decade, and president of the Fort Valley State College in Georgia in 1939. In 1945 he was chosen as president of his alma mater, Lincoln University, in Chester County, Pennsylvania, where he served until 1957. While at Lincoln, he pointed the attention of the college and its students and faculty toward Africa and Africans, building relationships with famous African Lincoln alumni, such as Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana and Nnamdi Azikiwe of Nigeria. He made several trips to Africa in these years and was an officer of the American Society for African Culture (AMSAC). After leaving Lincoln, he became dean of the School of Education at Atlanta University. He worked at Atlanta until his death in 1972.

Publications and Scholarly Pursuits

Bond's publications in the 1920s included two articles critical of the racial bias in the intelligence testing movement. He continued to publish numerous articles in the 1930s, a decade in which he also published a textbook for education courses in historically black colleges, The Education of the Negro in the American Social Order (1934), and Negro Education in Alabama: A Study in Cotton and Steel (1939), which was based on his doctoral dissertation. While at the rural Fort Valley State College in the 1940s, Bond published Education for Production: A Textbook on How to Be Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise (1944). In the 1950s, after leaving Lincoln, he gave several lectures at Harvard University, which were subsequently published as The Search for Talent (1959). The theme of black academic excellence, which had animated Bond's own life and much of his early work, as well as his Harvard lectures, was explored again in Black American Scholars: A Study of Their Beginnings (1969). Finally, Bond's Education for Freedom: A History of Lincoln University, was published posthumously in 1976. His scholarship was mainly in the areas of educational tests and measurements, educational history, and educational sociology. Much of his early and middle career was devoted to teacher training, and issues involved in its pursuit in black colleges. His later years were devoted to the pursuit of positive relations between Africans and African Americans, as well as expansions of his earlier scholarly interests.

Bond was an accomplished student, and his early scholarly career was one of great promise. His detour into academic administration, encouraged by the Rosenwald interests, took him away from his scholarly pursuits until late in his life. By that time, his absence from the scholarly arena for several years hampered his efforts, though it did not stop his productivity. His accomplishments as a college president were considerable at Fort Valley, where he pioneered the collegiate development of one of the three black colleges in the Georgia State University System. His tenure at Lincoln, however, was marred by acrimonious relationships with some faculty and alumni, which eventually culminated in his dismissal as president, an outcome which he considered, with some bitterness, to be totally unjust. At Atlanta he was reasonably successful as a dean but exhibited little enthusiasm for the work. He was more interested in research on black educational history and black academic achievement and pursued these interests after being named head of the School of Education's Bureau of Educational Research.

Family Life

Bond married Julia Agnes Washington, a student he met while on the Fisk faculty in the 1920s, in 1929. Julia Washington was from an economically successful and prominent African-American family in Nashville, Tennessee, and she and Horace had three children: Jane Marguerite, born in 1939; Horace Julian, born in 1940; and James, born in 1945. He had high academic expectations for all of his children, expectations which were met initially only by his daughter. His son, Horace Julian, became a leader in the black college student wing of the civil rights movement in the 1960s, went on to become a state legislator in Georgia, and in his political activism achieved a fame that had eluded his father. In the early twenty-first century he serves as president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and teaches history at the University of Virginia.


BOND, HORACE MANN. 1934. The Education of the Negro in the American Social Order. New York: Prentice Hall.

BOND, HORACE MANN. 1939. Negro Education in Alabama: A Study in Cotton and Steel. Washington, DC: Associated Publishers.

BOND, HORACE MANN. 1969. Black American Scholars: A Study of Their Beginnings. Detroit, MI: Balamp.

BOND, HORACE MANN. 1976. Education for Freedom: A History of Lincoln University. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press for Lincoln University.

URBAN, WAYNE J. 1992. Black Scholar: Horace Mann Bond, 1904–1972. Athens: University of Georgia Press.

WILLIAMS, ROGER. 1971. The Bonds: An American Family. New York: Atheneum.


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