Explorations in Black Leadership

Co-Directed by Phyllis Leffler & Julian Bond

Leadership Development

BOND: Let me shift gears and ask you a question about how leaders are made, how leaders are created. Some people think great people cause great events. And others say, "No, unpredictable events create leaders appropriate for the times." And then some people say movements make leaders. Do you think any one of these is the thing or — ?

RUSH: No, I think all three of them apply.

BOND: All three of them. Leadership comes out of all of these.

RUSH: Yeah, different kinds of leadership. I think that, you know, there's popular leadership, prophetic leadership, other different kinds of leadership, but I think that we are the type of leadership that have — and there's professional leadership — but there is the type of leadership that really I'm attracted to is more of the leadership that comes from mass movements, and it's more of a prophetic kind of leadership and certainly there're a whole lot of biblical references and examples of it. I think that certainly Dr. King, Fred Hampton, there's others, and Malcolm, some of the others, they're all kind of prophetic kinds of leadership and those kinds of leadership inspire me.

BOND: Your legitimacy as a leader — does it come from your ability to persuade people to follow your vision or does it come from your ability to articulate the agenda of a movement?

RUSH: I try to lead by example, okay? So I think that people follow me because they believe that I have — I'm able to persuade them by my example primarily and by my courage, by my going up against the odds and overcoming the odds. I think that's what it is.