Explorations in Black Leadership

Co-Directed by Phyllis Leffler & Julian Bond

Peer Influence on Career Choice

BOND: Now, how did you choose your career? How did you become an elected official? I mean, what pushed you in that direction?

MOORE: Well, I can tell you, I never wanted to be an elected official. I always said I would never, ever, ever do it, but what pushed me toward it were my peers. I went to an all-black school. We knew nothing of our history other than we had been slaves. There was a tremendous desire to have black history, and my peers pushed me toward becoming their spokesperson for black history.

I was elected as president of the student council. I was elected as a vice president of the Wisconsin Association of Student Councils. I was a co-chair of a city-wide organization that focused on boycotting and really confronting segregation and racism in our school district called BOY, Black Organized Youth. And I was shy. People don’t believe that.

BOND: I don’t believe it.

MOORE: I know. No one ever believes it, but I was shy. But I felt the thrust and the push from my peers. They said, "Oh, she can talk good. Go on up there and talk for us," and so I did that.