Explorations in Black Leadership

Co-Directed by Phyllis Leffler & Julian Bond

Influence of Social Networking

BOND: Now, is your vision larger than your father's, and your children's vision larger than yours –

GRAVES: Correct.

BOND: At least, in part, because you had his example to guide you and they have your example to guide you. How have you created a larger vision for your own kids?

GRAVES: Well, I like to believe I've not only – created for my kids and how I've done it. I've done it by example, first of all. They have a host of friends, male and female, that we invite to Super Bowl parties every year. And they literally start talking to Butch around December and they say "I made the cut for your father's party this year?" I actually let Butch and Johnny and Michael – those are our sons – invite the kids themselves, and they say, "Yeah, yeah, yeah. You're making it this year." But they want to be in an environment where Ken Chenault, chairman of American Express would be at, and Bob Holland used to run Ben and Jerry's, and Barry Rand, who is the CEO of Avis, and Jim Coleman, the child psychiatrist who runs the Yale Child Study Center up at Yale University, who's Dr. Coleman. Those people are being – and Vanessa Williams dropping by, and Ozzie and Ruby Davis being there with several of their grandchildren. They want to be in that environment because it says success. It says, "I can make it, too."

Mind you, they're not just there watching football. Also they're networking. Right? African Americans network in a very healthy way and in a very positive way. And they're doing it while they're there and they may very well be doing a deal. They very well may be talking about a job opportunity for one of their friends that they can tell somebody else there. And so socialization for African Americans is never always going to be, "Let's just sit down and have some food and not talk about anything else." If we sat down at a social event, the subject of race would come around within the first half-hour after sitting down. It's very difficult to do. If we go to a mid-town restaurant for dinner, by the time I'm looking around my wife says to me, or whatever, she says, "You're not kind of looking at how many black waiters." I said, "There are none," all right. And she said, "But just eat your dinner tonight." She said, "We can discuss this on the way home." But I mean that's where your antennae have to be up in terms of a way to understand the importance of what it is you have to do.

BOND: Earl Graves. Thank you for having your antennae out for all these years.

GRAVES: Julian. Thank you for being my friend for so many years.

BOND: Thank you.