Explorations in Black Leadership

Co-Directed by Phyllis Leffler & Julian Bond

Leadership: Reaching Different Groups

BOND: Do you think in your lifetime, from this first high school internal political activity, student council activity, and NAACP activity, on up through college and law school and the law practice, and the city council and then the mayor, with the mayor particularly, where for the first time you're serving a really wide, diverse constituency -- do you think you have different styles when you're speaking for, or to, black audiences, and a different style when you're speaking for, or to, mixed audiences or white -- these Daughters of the Confederacy, for example?

MARSH: Sure. I think it's about educating people. Like I told you how people do things in Virginia -- I used that opportunity to bring those people along. To let them know that, you know, this might be an African American mayor but he doesn't have a tail. And he can make me feel at home. I would like to think that I helped advance their education by doing that. I didn't like their cause, but I was the mayor. I could have done it differently. I could have written them a letter and say, you know, some -- but that wouldn't have helped anything. Of course, when I go to black groups my idea is to challenge them, to bring them along. We haven't achieved in the past here. The problem's got to be solved by us. Nobody's going to solve these problems for us. So what you do is, you use the situation to help people advance, to educate people. That's what it's all about.