Paternal Grandfather
1863 - 1929
JAMES BOND was born a slave in 1863 on the Preston Bond farm in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, and with his mother, was emancipated in 1865. He and his brother Henry received their early education in the tiny rural school in Flat Lick, Kentucky. In the fall of 1879, 15-year-old James hitched his tuition, a steer, to a rope, and walked 55 miles to Berea College, founded in 1855, molded on the emancipationist and puritan principles of its founder, Kentucky abolitionist John Fee. Berea's student body was sexually and racially integrated until the early 1900s, when the Kentucky legislature outlawed integrated education. James enrolled in Berea's Intermediate School. By 1886 he was a college freshman, his progress interrupted by the need to work to finance his education. In 1892 he graduated, and entered Oberlin College to prepare for a career in the ministry. There he married Jane Alice Browne in 1895. In 1896, he received his Bachelor of Divinity degree and took a church in Birmingham, Alabama. He then moved to Howard Congregational Church in Nashville and also served on the Theology faculty of Fisk University. He quickly became one of the "leading Negroes" of Nashville, leading opposition to laws segregating Nashville's streetcars. In 1900, he joined Fisk's faculty as a Professor of Homiletics. The Bonds had six children - Gilbert (b-1896), James Palmer (b-1898), Thomas Moore (b-1900), Maxwell Henry - later James Max (b-1902), Horace Mann (1904), and Lucy Jane (b-1909). He received an Honorary Doctorate of Divinity Degree from Berea in 1901 and a Master of Science degree in 1926. In 1896, he became a Berea Trustee, filling the "black seat", and remained faithful to the overwhelmingly white Congregational Church. Following Berea's compliance with Kentucky's segregationist Day Law, he spoke out for establishing a black school, and became Berea's Financial Secretary in 1906, with chief responsibility for raising money to establish the new black school while keeping Berea financially solvent. He moved to Williamsburg where his mother and brother lived; Jane Alice Bond became a part-time teacher in the one-room school run by Henry Bond. In 1907, he began raising money for the new Lincoln Institute in Shelbyville. When it was established in 1912 he enrolled his children. Jane Bond taught Latin and French. In 1914 he became a pastor in Talladega, Alabama and a special lecturer in Hebrew History at Talladega College, while Jane Bond served as Principal of Cassedy Grammar School. In 1917, he returned as full-time pastor at Atlanta's Rush Memorial Congregational Church. At the onset of World War I, he became "Building Secretary" for the YMCA, at Kentucky's Camp Zachary Taylor. After the war, he became Kentucky State YMCA's "Secretary for Colored Work", traveling widely, developing YMCA programs. At his suggestion, a Kentucky arm of the Commission on Interracial Cooperation was formed; he became the first Director and was authorized to organize interracial committees in the sixty counties with significant black populations. Ten days after his brother Henry died, James died at age sixty-nine on January 15, 1929.
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