Explorations in Black Leadership

Co-Directed by Phyllis Leffler & Julian Bond

Leadership: Economic Empowerment

BOND: Now, when you think about -- look back over your life, Mr. Hill, and think about the leadership figures you have known -- Charlie Houston, Thurgood Marshall, then later, we just talked about Martin Luther King -- what kind of leadership is demanded today? What kind of leadership do we need today?

HILL: Oh, I think we need somebody who's interested in raising the status of the lowest element of our economic situation. We've got to change our economic system. We don't need poor people. There ought to be just two classes of service in the world -- luxury and first class. I have no problem with providing a system where people who'll spend more time and work the extra and make the extra effort to improve things, getting a little better, having a little more, bigger share of the return.

But! There ought to be a limit to that. There also ought to be a floor. Nobody should be beyond a certain level. There ought to be a level where a people have an opportunity – you talk about family values, ought to be an opportunity for people to maintain a family. If people got to work two and three jobs, and barely see each other, how they going to maintain family values? They don't have the time to spend with the children. If you're going to have family values, everybody ought to have an opportunity to work and live as a family, and that means you should have time to work and time to recreate and time to be with your family. And that's my idea about what we need to do now, we need to make a greater effort to make people realize that the evolution is the creator's concept of the way things should move and try to bring forth the direction that things should take for the best interest of the common wheel.

BOND: Are you confident that this is going to happen? HILL: Well, I'm confident of this -- we'll never have a civilized society until it does happen.

BOND: Do you -- are you confident that there are leadership figures on the horizon, or in the present day, who can carry on the work that's begun?

HILL: Oh, I mean, I can think of people who have the capacity to do it, now whether they will do it or not, I don't know.