Explorations in Black Leadership

Co-Directed by Phyllis Leffler & Julian Bond

Movements Create Leaders

BOND: That leads naturally to a question about how leaders become leaders. Now, people say it happens one of three ways: either great people cause great events, or movements make leaders, or the coming together of unpredictable events creates leaders appropriate for those events for the times. Which one of these fits you?

CLYBURN: I think the movement. I think that's probably…

BOND: The movement created the opportunity for you to show leadership?

CLYBURN: Right. I think that's it.

BOND: Of course, in a way you were showing leadership just even before that, when you were running in the high school, grade school, getting elected to office.

CLYBURN: But I'm not too sure that I would've ever done that, but for what was going on over there in Summerton. I don't know if I would've ever done that if I had not internalized a lot of what was going on in my household, listening to what my parents…

BOND: So, in fact, you were part of the movement even though you weren't part of the movement?

CLYBURN: That's exactly right.