Explorations in Black Leadership

Co-Directed by Phyllis Leffler & Julian Bond

The Military as Leadership Training

BOND: Let me take you back to the military. You become a lieutenant?


BOND: Now, in effect, this is leadership training. Did you learn things there that carried on to your future life?

CONYERS: Oh yes. Yes, I did. They had -- first of all, you had to go to a leadership school at Camp Roberts, California, for eight weeks before -- and if you didn't -- you had to make it there before you could go to any officer candidate school. And it was a great experience for me. The only thing is that we knew that during the Korean War you had to also come back alive to enjoy and implement all this leadership. And I had classmates who were also sent to different parts of Korea who we never saw again. It was -- and I began to think about Korea, and then Vietnam, and then I began to look that so many of our wars that were not necessary. And that -- I was in many of the organizations, the peace movements. They've always had a profound effect on me. The Japanese used to visit me in Congress [who] experienced Hiroshima and Nagasaki and they would bring me these wonderful glass vases, in supporting the position that I took, that we should never go to war except as a last resort. I was deeply moved.