Explorations in Black Leadership

Co-Directed by Phyllis Leffler & Julian Bond

The Church and Oratory

BOND: What about other people, Scout leaders, or church leaders or people of that sort, outside your family and outside of your school?

DOVE: Well, my parents were members of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church in town and we went there every Sunday. The preacher, the minister there, was a man by the name of Reverend [E.E.] Morgan [Jr.] who was an absolute natural orator. Sometimes those sermons would go on for about an hour but what was incredible — I think that very early on I appreciated the way he would shape that sermon from the reading, from the scriptural reading. You'd get a couple of lines out of the scriptures and sometimes he would choose very very strange ones that people were looking through — what does this mean and then he would lay it out for you and then he would give you examples or he would build this and to watch that and to experience that Sunday after Sunday and sometimes he could reach quite a high pitch and sometimes not, but I could say, oh, here he goes and then sometimes my father would actually say, okay, here's the turn [laughs] so he was leading us in that and what was really quite influential.