Explorations in Black Leadership

Co-Directed by Phyllis Leffler & Julian Bond

Letting People Help

GIOVANNI: People were willing to take a chance. I was always willing to let people help me. Let me put it that way. So if I would say one thing important to your audience, you have to let people help you. Louise was quite, quite, quite helpful. I thought it was really nice that she did that because she also knew that if I had to apply to Columbia and I had to go up for an interview I would blow it, because I invariably blow things like that because they say something and I take an attitude, or I don't want to ask anybody -- like, I don't mind asking for help, but I'm not going to sit there and have somebody say, "Now why do you think you should come to Columbia?" "Because, dammit, where else am I -- ?"

So she eliminate -- she recognized enough in me to say, "Let's eliminate her messing up her life, and let's do that and if she makes it, she makes it. If she doesn't, she doesn't." So I went to Columbia, and I rented -- because of the nature of the scholarship and I got an apartment and I got a phone, which at that point was quite something in New York -- and was in school. Actually I took a history class because you could take classes. You know, I used to sit in on them. And it was just -- it was a good experience for the year.