Explorations in Black Leadership

Co-Directed by Phyllis Leffler & Julian Bond

Leadership Philosophy

BOND: Now, do you have a general philosophy that guides your life?


BOND: Now, how has this philosophy sustained you in difficult moments, because everybody's had difficult moments. And your description of the murder of your campaign director -- I mean, just had to be staggering.

WATSON: It was. It was life-changing. But I have always positioned myself -- A, where I could have the opportunity. B, something happens, be a woman, what're you going to do about it? You know? You can't change what happened. It has happened, but you can change how you react to it and you have to become strong-minded. I mean, you can't let one little swat knock you down. And that's what I have done over the years. I've just had to pick myself up sometimes by myself and move forward, and you don't grovel in your misery. You've got to move forward, you know, get up out of that bed if you don't feel well. Think positively. Move ahead.

You've got to be strong-minded and that comes from my grandmother. You know, we'd fall and she'd say, "You fall down hard?" "Yes, ma'am." "Break your behind?" "Yes, ma'am." We used to get so angry. She didn't give you sympathy. She made you get up and keep moving, so I tell myself, "Okay, you come in here with a problem? Let's look at how we can solve it." And that's what I've done to myself, too. I've had some very traumatic experiences in life and I just had to straighten my back, put my head up and deal with them.