… Community Board 12 Members Shahabuddeen A. Ally, Esq., & Wayne A. Benjamin, AIA., Dr. Vincent Boudreau, Interim President of NYCC, Maxine Griffith, Executive Vice President at Columbia University, family and friends – among others – to unveil “J. Max Bond Jr. Way”.
J. Max Bond, Jr. was born in 1935 in Louisville, Kentucky into a prominent family. His father, J. Max Bond, Sr., who held doctorate degrees in economics and sociology from the University of Southern California, was an important academic administrator who during his life served as Dean of Dillard University, Academic Dean at Tuskegee Institute, and President of the University of Liberia. As a result of his parents work abroad, Max and his younger brother George and older sister Jane, spent several years as a child living abroad in Haiti and other countries. His mother, Ruth Clement Bond, taught literature and was renowned for quilts she designed in the mid-1930s, while his first cousin, Julian Bond, served as chair of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
J. Max Bond, Jr., was educated at Harvard University where he studied architecture, receiving his Bachelors in 1955 and his Masters in 1958. Upon entering Harvard at age 16, Max had already decided to pursue a career in architecture. For his generation of African-American students, Harvard’s academic rigors were not as challenging as the social trials and racial discrimination they had to endure. In his first year, a cross was burned in the Harvard Yard in front of the dorm housing Max and 10 other black freshmen. A white professor advised Max to abandon his dream of becoming an architect noting: “There have never been any famous, prominent black architects.” Fortunately, Max spent a summer in Los Angeles working for the trailblazing African-American architect, Paul Williams, and knew the he could overcome racial stereotypes.
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J. Max Bond, Jr. resided in Washington Heights for 36 years – at 434 West 162nd Street from 1973 until 2005, and at 800 Riverside Drive from 2005 until 2009. He died on February 18, 2009 at the age of 73. In addition to his professional accomplishments, Max was a devoted son, brother, husband, father, and grandfather. He was an internationalist who abhorred war and injustice and was concerned about the built environment as it affected all peoples and their cultures. He brought to the practice and teaching of architecture a spirit of public service. As an architect, mentor, educator, and public servant he was a person of distinction, vibrancy, vision, and dedication.
J. Max Bond Jr. Street Co-naming Ceremony will be this Sunday, November 19, 2017, on the southeast corner of West 162nd Street & Saint Nicholas Avenue, NYC.
Photo credit: ST/BOND: 06/01/04: Helayne Seidman FTWP: New York- Architect J. Max Bond in his Manhattan office. He has been brought in to work on the World Trade Center memorial. At left is a model of the Freedom Tower and memorial. Freelance Photo imported to Merlin on Tue Jun 1 15:50:03 2004