Explorations in Black Leadership

Co-Directed by Phyllis Leffler & Julian Bond

A Philosophy of Modesty

BOND: But at the same thing, King had this enormous gift of oratory and persuasion and that enabled him to make up for what he lacked in these other areas and I’m guessing that you possess those skills plus others as well, which is why you’re a leader.

BUTTS: Well, I think it’s best for all of us to allow others to say whether we are leaders or not.

BOND: Indeed it is.

BUTTS: Because it becomes dangerous when you begin to see yourself in that position because sometimes you begin to understand leadership as a privilege of making people do what they know it is best not for them to do and very often, especially in today’s world, I’ve seen men and women appoint themselves as leaders and take people in the wrong direction and it has been devastating. They’ve exploited people. Every person who is a leader I think you won’t find and a true leader will always admit to mistakes, big ones, will always admit to vulnerability and sin, and to the degree that a person appoints him or herself as a leader and rises above those things, you’ve got to be careful.

BOND: Indeed.

BUTTS: Very careful.