Explorations in Black Leadership

Co-Directed by Phyllis Leffler & Julian Bond

How Leaders Are Made

BOND: Let me ask you about how leaders are made. Now, the common feeling is that leaders are made in three different ways — number one, great people cause great events. Number two, movements make leaders. And number three, the confluence of unpredictable events creates leaders appropriate for the times. Does one of these fit you?

MOORE: Probably the second one. I very much feel that I was a product of a certain period, and I think that I beckoned to the call. There was — I remember once having a conversation with a very upper middle class person in a suburban part of my soon-to-be Senate district. And — you know, and I remember saying to him, you know, there are times when I feel like I should just get myself a fancy suit and a fancy briefcase and sell malt liquor or something and make six figures but then I stop and think about the condition of all those people who are depending on me — women and people of color and children and folks without jobs and inadequate health care. And then I sigh after thinking about how nice it would be just to be rich and live in a beautiful home. I sigh and think, "I’ve got to get back to work."