Explorations in Black Leadership

Co-Directed by Phyllis Leffler & Julian Bond

Leadership Styles

BOND: But you know, I think our common perception of the leadership figure is the Martin Luther King. That's it. And so many people say, "Gee, I can't make a speech like that. I can't. I'm not Martin Luther King, I never will be Martin Luther King, so I can't play a leadership role." How can we find ways to show people that there are other leadership roles that fit their personality that don't have to live up this high, Martin Luther King standard?

JONES: To making a speech, that's right. And you know it's interesting -- that standard wasn't as high when Martin was living. Martin caught hell, you know, Martin caught hell, he really did.

BOND: All the time.

JONES: And he -- you know, look at the University of Virginia when he died. So in your own time, you don't get what you're entitled to. But you know -- Martin is gone. We've seen Martin's characteristics. Martin's characteristics do not define leadership. Martin's characteristics define Martin's strengths and what Martin brought to the leadership table. But just like Martin brought his characteristics, you know, Jane Doe out there can bring her characteristics, and so we have to define them for ourselves and your characteristics depend on the time that you're in.