Explorations in Black Leadership

Co-Directed by Phyllis Leffler & Julian Bond

Influence of Parents and Siblings

BOND: So I'm guessing if I ask who were influential people in your life, your parents would be at the top of the list?

HALL: My parents, definitely.

BOND: And who else?

HALL: My sister Taffy. She was the one who taught me how to read…

BOND: She's older?

HALL: She's older, six years older. I would say, you know, my other sister was so much older than me, that they left the house. One of my sisters went to the Navy, and then another sister ended up moving out to California with her, so I would say Taffy was the one who was the closest to me and she really—we would actually play with each other and there was this dollhouse that I had and me and her would play dolls and make up stories and I think she stoked that kind of creative fire in me and to always be cultivating my imagination. And we would just play dress up all the time, and so I would say she is probably one of the biggest influences on my sense of imagination and on this level of learning because we would play, you know, school. When she got back from school --like she was in elementary school, and so she would be the teacher and I would be the student and that's how I was taught to read, and reading to me was so fun because we were role playing in the midst of actually learning something. Like we would take newspaper and she would spread it out and – like - look at that and that's how I would say she really, really influenced that creative side of me, that beautiful, special side of me.

BOND: Tell me about your sister, what is she doing now?

HALL: Taffy is unfortunately struggling right now. Struggling really, really hard. Growing up, even though we were in the same -- under the same roof, living under the same roof, Taffy had it harder than I would say I did because even though she taught me this love of learning, when we moved out to that particular neighborhood, to Raleigh, you know, she didn't like school, and because sometimes she would skip school, she was disciplined harshly by the school and by my parents. And so, you know, she actually didn't end up going to college. She actually lagged behind and her dream was to be an artist, a visual artist, but because she—she ended up graduating high school, but she ended up getting pregnant during high school, so there were choices that she had made in her life -- early on in her life that have put her in a place where she now has four children, four beautiful children, my niece and nephews, but she never got an opportunity to go to college. She's on Section 8, and was not able to pursue her dreams because of all of these challenges that accumulated over a period of time.