Explorations in Black Leadership

Co-Directed by Phyllis Leffler & Julian Bond

Education Experiences

BOND: Could you at the time realize that the kind of education you were receiving [in Washington, D.C.] was better than you would have received in Jacksonville? That you were in some ways getting a higher level of education and training?

COLE: There was no question about that to me. I mean, the notion of going to school half a day never made sense to me. I loved school. But one thing that I must say is that in those colored schools of Jacksonville, Florida -- and remember in D.C. there were still schools of colored kids -- there were teachers who profoundly believed in us. First of all they believed that there was no such thing as an uneducable child. There were only teachers who did not teach. And so my years in the colored schools of Jacksonville had a kind of duality. I was aware that the books were hand-me-downs. I knew that we didn't have enough gym equipment. I knew that across town in the white schools that they were enjoying many, many more material things. But I always felt deeply appreciated. I felt people telling me I was good and smart and that I could do things in the world. And sometimes I fear that a lot of that is no longer a part --