Explorations in Black Leadership

Co-Directed by Phyllis Leffler & Julian Bond

Legacy of Brown

BOND: Now, looking back at it from today's perspective, almost fifty years later, what do you think about progress made today? How this has worked out? You're initially optimistic --


BOND: -- that optimism is quickly dashed. Now here we are with the advantage of fifty years hindsight. What are you thinking now?

THEUS: I think that there's no question in my mind that it was a good move. It's working well now and I think that the price that we paid in turbulence, violence in our communities at that time, were well worth it since it did open the schools, open the road to equal opportunity. And, of course, you and I know that without education -- without a good, solid educational foundation -- that one simply cannot progress in today's society within the United States. Now, very interestingly -- I noted with a degree of alarm that on some of our campuses, there were black students demanding -- in recent years -- demanding separate quarters, separate rooms where they could meet. They wanted to live together away from the majority. I felt that that was wrong. I can understand their feelings because they didn't live as you and I did, this enforced segregation, where not only the education itself but the quarters, the living quarters, everything was all inferior. They hadn't seen this, and so when these sorts of thoughts started to come out about -- I'd say about half-way, we're now at the fifty-year point. I'd say at about the half-way when these thoughts started to be voiced and people started to demonstrate, to try to acquire separate living quarters, they wanted to have special courses that would be open only to minority members and so forth in some schools -- I was alarmed about this. Now I see this has subsided, I think that we're on the road now to doing what one would expect us to do in a society and a democracy. And that is, we do have the schools are all open to everyone. And I think that this good, there's no question in my mind.