Explorations in Black Leadership

Co-Directed by Phyllis Leffler & Julian Bond

Reflections on Brown

LEFFLER: So let's go back for a minute just so that I can ask you about this, because this is probably the reverse of the experience of many of your contemporaries who would have gone to all-black schools until college or beyond. So what was the impact of the Brown decision on you? What do you remember about it?

BOND: I remember it being discussed at the table. I don't remember talking about my father's role in it at the table. But I remember the decision at the table. I was fourteen years old when this happened. I remember talking about it. I remember this feeling my parents had of great joy and optimism about it. I don't think they had foolish optimism. I don't think they thought things would change overnight. But they thought this was a sign of change. Change was going to occur. Things were looking up, looking better. So I remember it in that context. But I don't remember my father saying, "You know, I had something to do with that," or if he did say it it didn't sink in to us.

LEFFLER: So you don't -- you remember the discussions, but clearly it didn't have any direct impact on you?

BOND: No, no.

LEFFLER: So you couldn't really have thought about what it meant for then or for the future even necessarily?

BOND: No. I just remember this feeling that good things were in store. But what those things were weren't specified or detailed. But good things were happening.

LEFFLER: So it was time of general optimism.

BOND: Yes.

LEFFLER: But you didn't know quite how.

BOND: Right.