Explorations in Black Leadership

Co-Directed by Phyllis Leffler & Julian Bond

Product of the Times: A '60s Person

BOND: So, you said a moment ago that you were a ’60s person. I’m too old to be a baby boomer, I missed about five years — but you are baby boomer.

MOORE: I’m a baby boomer.

BOND: What is being a boomer and being a ’60s person? What does that mean to you?

MOORE: Well, I can tell you that we’re very — you know, and in the ’60s, I guess, things weren’t right unless something was wrong. And I went to meetings every night as a teenager and I thought about other people. I thought about the condition of the world. I think that things that we did in the ’60s — the African Americans have led the greatest civil rights movement on this planet. I think that we are or could be an example to the world. We look at all the conflicts around the world.

I am so committed, Chairman Bond, to making a difference literally in the world. And some of the experiences that I’ve had during the ’60s — the non-violent reconciliation of difference, the bringing folks together, things that the NAACP taught me, the things that I learned from a church and from community, the things that I learned during the Great Society, that we’re all in this boat together and that it’s our responsibility to look out for each other — I think this is a model for the future and I think it’s a model for the world.

BOND: Now, of course, neither of us can know the answer to this question but do you think if you were twenty years older or twenty years younger, that you’d be the same person you are?

MOORE: Well, I was the same person twenty years ago. I —

BOND: No, I mean, if you’d been born twenty years earlier.

MOORE: I definitely think that that may have made a difference. I think that I know people who are twenty years older than me, and they’re very much marked by that time — the Depression era — and there’re many people who operate out of a perspective of lack, a perspective of drought, even in terms of what they can give personally. I have had older people say that how much they wish they had been young during the era that I had been. I see people who are younger than me and who care only about themselves, that are only concerned about hitting the mall. And it’s sad to me when I think of all of the work that needs to be done in our communities, in America and indeed, in the world. When I look at what’s happening in Darfur, when I look at what is happening in eastern Europe, when I look at the needs of our own communities. There’re soldiers who return home and the majority of homeless folks are veterans. Well, I look at the kind of work that needs to be done in our community and I see some folks who are younger than I am not being concerned about the collective. I think it’s possible that I could’ve been different.