Explorations in Black Leadership

Co-Directed by Phyllis Leffler & Julian Bond

Progress for Society and All Races

BOND: Let me shift gears one more time. How does race consciousness -- consciousness that you are what we call in this country a black American -- how does that affect the work that you've done all your life?

LEWIS: Well, I think race has affected me, but a lot of time, I don't think about it. I just do it. I guess that's the old slogan -- just do it. You just get out there and you get in the way, and I just -- you see something that is so right and so good and so necessary, you want to be part of it. And you see something that is so wrong and you just want to do what you can to try to make it right. And you, in a sense, forget about race and just get out there. But -- I hate discrimination. I hate hate. It'll destroy all of us, really. And you have to find a way to combat putting people down because of their race or their color.

BOND: Well, as you go about your work, do you see yourself as making advances for society or making advances for the race, or are they the same thing? Can they be the same thing? Are they always the same thing?

LEWIS: I see myself as making advances and making progress for the society, and in the process, I'm helping everybody, the total society. It doesn't matter whether people are black or white or Hispanic or Asian American or Native American. I want to help and advance the cause of everybody, that we all move together and that comes back to this idea of one house, one family. We all live in the same house. We're one family, the American family, the American House, the world house, or the world family.