Explorations in Black Leadership

Co-Directed by Phyllis Leffler & Julian Bond

Influential People: Black Lawyers

BOND: You talked last night and [you] write about Walden -- Colonel A.T. Walden, the dean of black lawyers in Atlanta -- as a strong influence, and Thurgood Marshall, in setting a career for you. But at the same time, the other lawyers in Atlanta at the time -- tiny, tiny number-- but there are a couple of other lawyers -- what did Walden and Marshall represent as lawyers that these other real estate lawyers didn't?

JORDAN: Well, they were at the cutting edge. They were fighting the good fight. They were agents of change. They were advocates of change. And because they were, you read about them and you saw them. The real estate lawyers and insurance lawyers didn't make speeches in churches.

BOND: Mm,hmm…

JORDAN: They were church members, but they weren't leaders in the ultimate cause for black people. And it's not a negative reflection on them...

BOND: Right.

JORDAN: As much as it is a positive reflection on Mr. Walden, Thurgood Marshall. And Don Hollowell who gave me my first job was not really on the scene until I was about to come out of law school. He was pretty much the successor to Mr. Walden as the civil rights lawyer. And to have had the pleasure and privilege of working with him, to carry his briefcase as it were...Same thing for Constance Baker Motley. It was a great thing.