Explorations in Black Leadership

Co-Directed by Phyllis Leffler & Julian Bond

Influence of SNCC Years

LEFFLER: Looking at those years, and now thinking more globally about the rest of your life and career what influence do you think those years in SNCC have had on the rest of your career. I know you feel like there was a real intensity to that time and perhaps you've never had anything quite like that. But what influence did it have beyond just the intensity of friendships?

BOND: Well, it convinced me of the necessity for involving everyone in making a decision depending on what the group is that you're in -- we're all in groups and groups make decisions about things that they're going to do. It just struck me that you've got to involve as many people as you can in making the decision because the decision you make will be agreed to by everyone or by most people at any rate rather than my making the decisions or you making the decisions for all the rest of us. That principle, for me, comes out of my SNCC experience. We made decisions this way. It's odd. We have a reunion and people are saying, "Who made that decision?" It's a repetition of what we were doing forty years ago. We're still the same way. So that, I think, more than anything else came out of that experience, and also the feeling that if something's wrong you can say "This is wrong. We're not having this. We're not putting up with this. We're going to do something about it," and being willing to do something about it.