Explorations in Black Leadership

Co-Directed by Phyllis Leffler & Julian Bond

Educational Expectations

BOND: And your mother went to Xavier and Dillard?


BOND: And I wonder if that's connected to your seeking the kind of education you sought, or was it expected of you?

BRAUN: It was expected.

BOND: It was just given that you were going to go to college?


BOND: Maybe not to law school, but to college. You had to go to college?

BRAUN: Absolutely. Absolutely, college was a big deal in our family and there was just never any question but that that was what -- that was their aspiration for all of us and so when I dropped out, that was one of the --

BOND: Oh, I know that was just awful.

BRAUN: Yeah, yeah, when I dropped out, and again, serendipity, when Larry Hawkins -- I had dropped out and got a really good-paying job working for the Chicago Housing Authority and they made me a Community and Tenant Relations Aide which basically meant I went around and gave poor people five-day notices to get out of the projects. As it turned out, Hawkins had just started what he calls The Program. It's still called that, in which he used sports to try to reclaim kids from underprivileged homes and circumstances and he uses sports as kind of the hook to get them in for tutoring, to broaden their horizons, to interest them in other things and just by osmosis, you know. I wasn't technically part of his group, but the people I was in charge of were and so, as a result, you know, when it was over, when the summer was over, I – you know, at that point, I had the fire in my belly to, you know -- "You better get yourself back to school and do something."

BOND: Did you take any musical ability or interest from your father? I mean, he was such an accomplished musician playing these seven instruments, working as a professional musician. What about you?

BRAUN: Absolutely nothing. I tried the clarinet in college. Well, we had a piano always in the house. I can't the play the piano. I took lessons. The piano teacher hit my hands with the ruler a couple of times and that was the end of that and then when I got to -- I'll never forget -- I got to the second chair in high school band with the clarinet and I was home practicing one day, and to show you how things -- my uncle, who also was a musician, came past and said, "Baby, you better think about taking up something else." That was the end of my playing the clarinet.