Explorations in Black Leadership

Co-Directed by Phyllis Leffler & Julian Bond

Race and Society

BOND: In another vein, if this was truly a raceless society you would be thought of as an education leader who's trying to take this institution and make it into a better institution than it has been. But because we are not that kind of society you're a black leader and your previous career as head of the Legal Defense Fund even more made you a black leader. Now how can you, or do you, distinguish in your own mind between leadership of and promotion of initiatives which help the progress of black people and those which help the larger society become a better society? Are these always the same thing?

CHAMBERS: Well, one would hope that promoting opportunities for minorities would always be advantageous to the larger society. And in that instance, I think it sort of depends on the way that people think and what they think about. In my opinion, though, it does help the larger society. When we can bring more people into decision making, can solicit their ideas and thoughts about matters, and can encourage their participation, it is all in my opinion beneficial to the larger group. I listened to your question about being classified as a black leader or a black educator. That is quite true and I don't know in this society if we will ever get to the point anytime soon where working to help improve education opportunities for a certain group would allow you to be classified as an educator or leader of American interests.