Explorations in Black Leadership

Co-Directed by Phyllis Leffler & Julian Bond

Martin Luther King, Jr.

LEFFLER: You're quoted in 1962 -- it's always dangerous to speak to the press because then it's in our information -- in 1962 as saying that you were very disappointed in Martin Luther King, you know, the man that everybody talks to as sort of the...

BOND: Everybody revered.

LEFFLER: -- the quintessential African-American leader.

BOND: Yes. I'll never get rid of that.

LEFFLER: So, why were you disappointed in him?

BOND: Well, I can't remember the specifics but something we thought was important, he wasn't paying as much attention to as we thought. We thought that he just wasn't -- he wasn't as militant as we were. Wasn't as willing to risk and dare as we were. I thought when I said that -- I remember thinking when I said that that we won't hear much more of this guy. He'll pass off the scene and somebody else will come along.

LEFFLER: I think you said that he was just going to become just another preacher, that he wouldn't be a leader?

BOND: Right. Well, boy was I wrong. But anyway, that was a feeling. We felt that in the scale of militants and aggressive behavior, and again we're talking about in a non-violent context, but on a scale of aggressive behavior we were first. He was maybe second or --

LEFFLER: More cautious --

BOND: Yeah. More cautious. And that you couldn't do this by caution. You had to be bold. We were bold and he was not.