Explorations in Black Leadership

Co-Directed by Phyllis Leffler & Julian Bond

You Must Have a Vision

BOND: Let's shift and talk about your leadership philosophy. Do you see a difference between vision, philosophy and style?

LEWIS: Well --

BOND: And how do these work together for you?

LEWIS: For me, you must have a vision. You must have a vision and get others to participate, to share that vision, to become owners or part of that vision. And I think this is in keeping with the Good Book. Without a vision, the people will perish. And if you're going some place -- you know where you're going -- you've got to have the vision and for people to go with you, but you've got to lead them. You've got to be down there with them. But you also need style, since -- it can't always be from the top. Some must be from the bottom up. And you've got to be in tune with the people and you've got to share their leadership. There's got to be shared leadership, I think. So it's all intertwined. It's not one over the other one. I think you need all three.

BOND: And so far as you're concerned and think of yourself, your leadership, your vision, your philosophy, your style, all come together?

LEWIS: Those all come together. My philosophy is very simple, that you're only here for a while and you have to do what you can with others to enhance the dignity of all humankind.

BOND: Now, how, if at all, would that differ from your vision? You described a philosophy. How would that differ from your vision, if it does at all?

LEWIS: No. I think it's almost inseparable. It's all sort of meshed and run together. My style may be -- the style is from time to time you say something or you do something or you confer, you try to bring people around, you try to convince people to share, but it's all together. It would be hard and very difficult for me to separate my vision and my philosophy. It's all interwoven.