Explorations in Black Leadership

Co-Directed by Phyllis Leffler & Julian Bond

Leadership: Development

BOND: Let me ask you a three-part question about how leaders are made. A, great people make great events; B, leaders come out of movements; or, C, unpredictable events creates leaders appropriate for the time. Is any of these more true than the others? Are they all true? Where do leaders come from?

HEIGHT: Well, I would think that -- what I said a few minutes ago, people who use their talents themselves, and I think that I stress using selves because I believe, even as you talked about the style of leadership, I think it is the way people give of themselves and use themselves to respond to what's needed in a situation. And I think that such leaders, for me, have an authenticity, that leaders are not just elected or appointed. I think those are in the leadership positions. But I think when you talk about the essence of leadership, someone who's never held an elected position or an appointed one, who sees that a stoplight is needed at the corner, has leadership to save children's lives. I mean, I'm saying that I think it is -- if you look at the essence of leadership, I think we put the label of leader on many people, but I'm talking about leadership is related to one's identifying with something that needs to be done, and responding to it and helping to move it forward.