Explorations in Black Leadership

Co-Directed by Phyllis Leffler & Julian Bond

Does the Vision Change Over Time?

BOND: In all of these things, in that fight, when you served as ambassador, which is entirely different from being a senator or legislator, and when you're in the legislature and even before that, Recorder of Deeds, whatever it is, is there some kind of vision you have that you bring to your work? You talked before about doing the best where you're planted, but is there a vision that covers everything that you've done or does it change over time? Do you have a different vision now, say, than you did when you were a young state legislator?

BRAUN: Well, it hasn't exactly changed in the really broad outlines. It's changed obviously in the specifics and in the details, but in the most sweeping generalization I can make, it's like that old gospel — I don't know if it's gospel or blues to be honest, but that old song about "You've got to serve somebody." You know, it might be the devil and it might be the Lord, but you've got to serve somebody and that really has been my — for me, I have found my life path as one of a challenge of being able to serve the higher values, to serve in ways that give my life meaning, as have been weighed in the forces for good. And you know, I used to tell my son that Dr. King had an expression about [how] the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends towards justice, and I used to tell my son but that depends on people making it bend towards justice and if we don't weigh in, each of us in our way, in whatever endeavor it is that we undertake to bend it towards justice, to make it go in the direction of truth, to lead it in the direction of the higher values, then it won't. It's just that simple and so everybody has to choose, has to chose how you want to come out. And you can either see your ego as being wrapped up in, you know, wearing 30-karat diamond rings or in trying to make in difference in the world in which you are fortunate enough to live.