Explorations in Black Leadership

Co-Directed by Phyllis Leffler & Julian Bond

Political Legacies: Jeannette Rankin

BOND: And speaking of consistency, I know not only did you vote against the Iraqi war, but you cast a no vote in Serbia and the Afghanistan investigation — not investigation, but the attack on Afghanistan. Did you know then about Jeannette Rankin?

LEE: You know, somewhere way back when I read about Jeannette Rankin since, of course, 9/11, 9/14 [National Day of Prayer and Remembrance], I know a lot more about Jeannette Rankin. I didn't know she was a social worker, for example.

BOND: Oh, I didn't know that. She retired to Georgia. I met her when she was up in years.

LEE: Oh, you're kidding?

BOND: Yeah.

LEE: I tell you, I've learned so much about her since then, but to answer is quite frankly no. I didn't know a lot about Jeannette Rankin at all. I actually was the lecturer at the Jeannette Rankin Lecture Series at Wellesley College about three years ago in Massachusetts and it was phenomenal just preparing for that lecture, learning even more about her then. And so now as I — I walk past her statue in the Capitol and I give her my due. This woman, boom boom boom, and it was always great to see her standing there, but I never stopped to really reflect on her as who she was in terms of war and peace, in terms of who she was as a social worker, and in terms of who she was as a member of Congress.

BOND: She was a feisty woman even in her older years.

LEE: I tell you.