Explorations in Black Leadership

Co-Directed by Phyllis Leffler & Julian Bond

Leadership: Vision, Style and Philosophy

BOND: Let me ask you a question. Think about yourself. What do you see as the difference between your vision, your philosophy, and your style? What differences do you see between these -- your vision, your philosophy, your style?

NORTON: Oh, my vision is informed really by intellectual and actual experiences. I kind of am a big-picture person. I've had to train myself, and going to law school helped me to do this, be a detail person, so I am a more conceptual person. Style -- my style perhaps is more sophisticated than when I grew up as a colored girl in Washington, but I have to tell you, my style is not much different. I have not -- I do not see how you can change your personality. I still think of myself as a colored woman with all of the -- all that that implies in terms of style. I think of myself as a more sophisticated colored woman than I would have been if I didn't have education and hadn't had great advantages, but essentially my style comes out of my racial experience. And I think whether it is in the way I talk, in the colloquialisms, in how I relate to other people. I think my style comes out of my experience growing up in a segregated city.

BOND: What about philosophy?

NORTON: Well, my philosophy, my goodness. If somebody asked me to summarize my philosophy in one sentence, they'd have to kill me because I would be unable to do it. But my philosophy, such as it is, really, is political. It operates on a plane that is ethical. It's very hard to -- I mean, I would hate to have to give anybody a vision statement for what your philosophy of life is.