Explorations in Black Leadership

Co-Directed by Phyllis Leffler & Julian Bond

Greatest Contributions

BOND: What do you see as your greatest contribution as an African American leader?

JEALOUS: You know, I think ultimately giving voice and winning a few victories here and there, whether it was helping to start an ultimately successful campaign to abolish the juvenile death penalty or the Troy Davis case — so individual cases and policies. To my generation’s pain and frustration that comes out of starting our lives being told that as the children of “The Dream,” you know — something a poet once called us, these kids who were born as and just after the great civil rights victories were being won — that the playing field was now fair, study hard, apply yourself, you’ll do well. And both finding that true for many of us — very much true for me, for instance — and yet having so many of our peers killed and sent off to prison. I mean, we came of age just in time to find ourselves the most murdered generation in this country, the most incarcerated generation on the planet and there’s a profound sense of betrayal in that and everything that goes with it, including the squandering of public resources and the failure of schools. And I think my greatest contribution has been to continually give voice to that sense of angst and frustration and the hope for the country that’s inside of it, the hope that we can get beyond this. If we can just get beyond this, then maybe we can really realize what our parents and our grandparents set out to truly make manifest for all of us.