Dr. Julius Bailey was born in Chicago, Illinois, the son of a young mother and a military man who played professional football when he was still clutching at the hem of his mother’s skirts. The Bailey home was a Christian one, and one of Dr. Bailey’s earliest influences was the late Rev. Dr. Emanuel W. Hoskins, Julius’s Baptist grandfather who did all he could to instill his religious values in the growing boy and, later, the young man.
Following his graduation from South Holland’s Thornwood High, Bailey left his home state for Washington D.C., where he attended Howard University, majoring in Philosophy. It was during these years, while earning his bachelor’s and master’s degrees, that Dr. Bailey began to truly live the principles his grandfather discussed while bouncing him on his knee. Dr. Bailey became a pillar of his community, giving his time freely to those in need of assistance or guidance. In the early nineties, he interned on Capitol Hill and in The House of Commons in London, England. When he returned from abroad, he volunteered for Rev. Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow PUSH Coalition (1992-1995) and served as the Student Body President for his college.
Dr. Bailey quickly discovered a deep love for lecturing and educating, even while he was still a student. He was the first undergraduate to take a teaching assistant position in the College of Arts and Sciences. After a stint teaching full time in the Department of Philosophy, Dr. Bailey left Illinois for Boston, where he furthered his studies at Harvard. Under the tutelage of Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Dr. Bailey studied in the Afro-American Studies Department. While there, he taught for Dr. Cornel West, becoming Lead Teaching Fellow.
Two years into his doctorate, Dr. Bailey received troubling news from home. His grandfather was suffering severely with Alzheimer’s. He returned home to attend to his grandfather and assume responsibility for the financial wellbeing of his church. These responsibilities meant that Dr. Bailey could not return to finish his studies at Harvard. He completed his doctorate degree at The University of Illinois in 1999 with Dr. Cornel West as his dissertation supervisor.
Shortly after he was awarded his doctorate, Dr. Bailey made his presence felt on the national stage by advocating for seven boys (known as the Decatur 7) who, thanks to draconian zero-tolerance policies, had been expelled from school after a fight at a football game. His deeply principled insistence on the boys’ right to an education, Dr. Bailey exposed deep flaws within our state’s systems of education and school discipline.
As Educational Spokesperson for Rev. Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow PUSH Coalition, Bailey fought for the children’s rights. The children of poor and black communities have a right to be educated and school districts that put policies in place that predominantly punish children of color must be held accountable for these decisions. Dr. Bailey, once a troubled youth himself, had been removed from a string of schools as a young man, so he knew all too well what the boys were going through. It was thanks to the intervention of men like my grandfather, Rev. Jesse Jackson, and Fr. Michael Pfleger that the young Julius Bailey didn’t fall through the cracks. They helped him see and walk the righteous path, and it has since been his mission to help others see and walk this narrow way. He says of this period that “someone stepped into the breaches of my life and saved me from drowning. My responsibility,” he says, “is to do the same.”
Today, Dr. Bailey, is the father of two daughters (14 and 21). He loves bingo and reading, and he is an award-winning author and educator. He teaches Philosophy and African American Studies at Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio. He is a philosopher, cultural critic, social theorist and diversity lecturer. Dr. Bailey has been a guest on numerous media outlets, and is often sought to speak at colleges, prisons, churches, and for community organizations across America. He has authored five books, including the award-winning Racial Realities and Post-Racial Dreams: The Age of Obama and Beyond and edited two others, notably the widely circulated The Cultural Impact of Kanye West. His current book, Racism, Hypocrisy and Bad Faith: A Moral Challenge to the America I Love, was released in February of 2020. He is currently Director of Pre-Law and Justice, Law and Public Policy at Wittenberg. He currently hosts an online radio show, “Straight no Chaser with Dr. Julius Bailey,” through which he provides insight and guidance on social change.
Dr. Bailey has taught at Central State University (Wilberforce, Ohio), Fresno State University (California), Lewis University (Illinois) and Millikin University (Illinois). At the same time, he been active in his church, serving as a church administrator for a mid-size ministry since 2004. He has also continued to serve his community by serving as the education director for Youth with a Positive Direction, one of Illinois’ after-school gems that provides positive outlets for at-risk youth. Finally, he also founded the award-winning Project Eight, another intervention-based youth service program that attempts to address some of the issues surrounding gun violence, STDs, and violent media. He is a highly sought-after diversity trainer, consulting in both the public and private sectors to help address long-standing issues of systemic racism, structural inequality, and incarceration politics.
Though he has not yet held an elected post, Dr. Julius Bailey has the combination of heart and mind that make him an ideal candidate for public office. His experience as an advocate and educator have prepared him to address some of the largest problems we face as a city and as a state.
Dr. Bailey believes that one of the keys to positive change is in our youth. He wants to strengthen our schools, their educators, and the communities they serve. Dr. Bailey is a heart-seeking leader—a man who wants to tap into our inner angels and help each of us see the angels all around us. He asks his students and those he mentors, “Who’s gonna cry at your funeral,” trying to show them the path towards a true and lasting impact that can, if it is sincere and deeply felt, spread beyond our immediate circle to our community and, if it is strong enough, across this great nation.