Explorations in Black Leadership

Co-Directed by Phyllis Leffler & Julian Bond

Quaker Influences

BOND: You mentioned a moment ago a Quaker professor and I just wondered how important were Quaker influences on your life.

MOSES: So, it's interesting because it picked up at Hamilton with this professor and so he and his wife who was also a Quaker arranged for me to go to Europe. This was the summer of '55 between my junior and senior year and then the next year as I was getting ready to leave campus, all of a sudden he said, "would you like to go to Japan?" [laughs] and so they were looking for someone to go to this retreat they were holding in Japan so after I graduated, I went to Japan with the Quakers and then when I got to Harvard, the most friendly professor, Roderick Firth, was also a Quaker. After my first year there, I needed funds. I talked to him and he arranged for me to live in the Quaker meeting house so they had a couple of really small rooms all the way up in the attic and they could keep a student in each room and you helped keep the house clean and shovel snow, so I lived with them for a couple of years while I was in graduate school, so there's been this kind of interplay in my life.

BOND: You went to France and to Belgium and to Germany with the Quakers?

MOSES: That was the summer of '55. This was with the American Friends Service Committee and that's a branch of the Quaker operation and we did work camps there. My first one, Belgium, was at a summer camp for kids and we built a little dormitory for them and then the second one was up in Germany. We were picking potatoes in a hospital and then France, we were with Les Castors - the Beavers - so we were actually working as apprentice to journeymen who were building. They were actually builders. They were building, it was a big housing project for workers.