Special Collections and University Archives, W.E.B. Du Bois Library, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Horace Mann Bond Papers
Horace Mann Bond was born on November 8, 1904 in Nashville, Tennessee. He was the son of James and Jane Alice Browne Bond, the fifth of their six children. His mother was a graduate of Oberlin College, and his father, a minister, held degrees from Berea College and Oberlin Seminary. James Bond's career included such positions as financial agent for Lincoln Institute in Kentucky, college pastor at Talladega College in Alabama, minister of an Atlanta church and director of the Kentucky Commission on Interracial Cooperation. Jane Bond was a teacher for many years and pursued graduate work in sociology at Oberlin College.
Horace Mann Bond attended the elementary and high schools of Lincoln Institute, Talladega College and Atlanta University. He completed secondary school at Lincoln Institute in 1919. He began college work at Lincoln University in Oxford, Pennsylvania in the fall of 1919, and received an A.B. degree from that institution in 1923.
In 1924 Bond accepted a position as director of the school of education at Langston University in Oklahoma. That same year, he began graduate work at the University of Chicago. He received a master's degree in education in 1926. In 1936 Bond earned his PhD. degree in the history of education. His thesis,"Social and Economic Influences on the Public School Education of Negroes in Alabama, 1865-1930," was awarded the University of Chicago's Susan Colver Rosenberg Prize in June 1937 for the best thesis in the social sciences. It was published in 1939 as Negro Education in Alabama: A Study in Cotton and Steel. Bond's first book, Education of the Negro in the American Social Order, had been published in 1934.
Between 1926 and 1936 Bond pursued both graduate study and employment at various educational institutions. For the academic year 1927-1928, he was director of the extension program at the State Normal School in Montgomery, Alabama. In the fall of 1928, he accepted what was to be the first of several positions with Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee. Bond served as head resident of a men's dormitory, taught several classes in education and history, and acted as research assistant to Charles S. Johnson of the social sciences department. During the 1929 and 1930 summer school sessions of Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, Bond conducted special classes under the auspices of the American Social Hygiene Association. From 1930 to 1931 Bond was employed at Fisk as a part-time lecturer in education. He worked full-time from 1932 to 1934 as an instructor and as a field worker for student and alumni promotion. In 1933 Bond supervised a Fisk project for the Tennessee Valley Authority which surveyed the social, economic and educational conditions of the black population in selected counties in seven states. From the fall of 1937 to 1939, Bond was head of Fisk's department of education.
It was during his first tenure at Fisk that Horace Bond met Julia Washington, a 1929 graduate of the university. They were married in 1930. Their first child, Marguerite Jane, was born in 1938; Horace Julian was born in 1940; James George, in 1944.
Beginning in the fall of 1929 and continuing for two years, Bond participated in a survey of black schools and the achievement of black children in North Carolina, Louisiana and Alabama. During this time, Bond visited more than 700 urban and rural black schools and administered standardized tests to nearly ten thousand children. The project was sponsored by the Julius Rosenwald Fund, a private foundation that concentrated its efforts in black and southern education. Bond received some financial support for graduate study from the Fund; his association with it continued for many years. As part of another investigation group of the Rosenwald Fund known as the School Exploration Group, Bond and his wife were assigned to study an isolated rural community, Star Creek, in Louisiana during the last months of 1934. The Bonds were directed to observe and report on black schools, social and economic conditions and race relations in the rural South.
In January 1935 Bond began work as dean of Dillard University in New Orleans, Louisiana. Dillard University combined the institutions of Straight University and New Orleans University with a design to implement some of the principles of"progressive education." The first classes of the new institution were held in September 1935, with Bond teaching courses in education and psychology as well as attending to his administrative responsibilities.
Horace Mann Bond accepted his first college presidency in 1939. The Fort Valley Normal and Industrial School was being incorporated into the Georgia state system of public schools for blacks as the Fort Valley State College. Bond agreed to serve as acting president for one year; he remained as president until the fall of 1945.
While at Fort Valley, besides carrying out regular administrative duties and teaching, Bond worked toward the improvement of college-community relationships and acted to upgrade area black public schools. In conjunction with the Conference of Presidents of Negro Land Grant Colleges and the United States War Department, Bond was also active in the planning of vocational and academic training programs for black soldiers and veterans.
In 1945 Bond was elected to the presidency of Lincoln University in Oxford, Pennsylvania. He was the fifth president of the institution, which was founded in 1854 to provide a higher education in the arts and sciences for"youth of African descent," and, although he himself did not make this distinction, he was its first black president. Much of Bond's work at Lincoln was directed toward public relations; during his twelve years there he delivered hundreds of addresses and managed to increase state financial aid to the institution. In 1950 Bond inaugurated for Lincoln one of the nation's first institutes for African studies. He was largely responsible for a rise in the number of African students attending the institution. On a community level, Bond participated in efforts to desegregate local public facilities; his activities included campaigning for a position on the Lower Oxford Board of School Directors in 1947.
Bond pursued extensive research into the history of Lincoln University and the surrounding area. The project was begun as part of the university's 1954 centennial celebration, but Bond's investigation continued well beyond that year. Most of the writing based on his research was published posthumously (1976) as Education for Freedom: A History of Lincoln University, Pennsylvania.
Bond resigned his presidency of Lincoln in June 1957 and was named President Honorarius for life.
While at Lincoln University, in 1949, Horace Bond made the first of many trips to Africa. On this initial visit, under the sponsorship of the African Council on Arts and Research, he made a survey of secondary education in British West Africa. Subsequent trips also included educational consultation, as well as participation in Ghanaian independence celebrations and Liberian mining expeditions.
Bond's interest in Africa and African-American relations led to his affiliations as founding member or officer with several organizations, including the American Society for African Culture, the African Studies Association, the International African American Corporation, and the African-American Institute.
In December 1957 Bond delivered the annual Inglis Lecture at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education. His address, "The Search for Talent," dealt with the educational traditions that limited the finding of talent to children of educationally and financially privileged families. The Search for Talent was published in 1959.
Horace Bond had accepted the position of dean of the Atlanta University School of Education in Atlanta, Georgia in July 1957. In addition to fulfilling his role as teacher and administrator there, he engaged in several research projects, including an extensive study of black doctorates. In 1966 Bond relinquished his duties as dean to become director of the Atlanta University Bureau for Educational and Social Research, a position which allowed him to concentrate almost exclusively on educational research. He retired from the University in 1971.
Horace Mann Bond died on December 21, 1972 in Atlanta.
Chronology of the life of Horace Mann Bond