Explorations in Black Leadership

Co-Directed by Phyllis Leffler & Julian Bond

SNCC Role Models

LEFFLER: Who were the leaders at that time, aside from your own group, that

you looked up to?

BOND: James Forman was the executive secretary, and he always had a phrase. He used to say, "Write it down. Write it down." -- and showed me and I haven't learned this lesson well, but he always said "You have to document everything. You have to write it down. If something happens write it down. Take notes." That had a big impression on me, which as I say I haven't absorbed as well as I could. But that just made a big impression on me and now I have records of things I've done because if I didn't write it down, somebody else did and I got that and I kept it. So I know what happened.

John Lewis who just had enormous courage and bravery, I mean was just almost indescribable. He would go anywhere and do anything and he was always non-violent. He's inviting the worst kind of punishment. You know he got a concussion at the bridge on -- Selma. He was beaten many, many other times -- at the Freedom Ride. Just a brave, brave soul, and absolutely fearless and deeply committed to non-violence. Much more so than I. It was tactical for me: use when on the picket line and don't use it, when someplace else. But he absolutely committed to it, in a deep way that most people in the movement never had.