Explorations in Black Leadership

Co-Directed by Phyllis Leffler & Julian Bond

Promoting "We the People" Consciousness

BOND: This is nearly the last question. How does race consciousness affect your work? Race consciousness—how does that shape what you do and what you have done?

MOSES: So I grew up as part of the black community so I'm always— That's still where I find my being.

BOND: At an earlier talk today, I heard you mention the word "race man", race man, he was a race man. You seldom hear that today.

MOSES: Right.

BOND: Are you a race man?

MOSES: Not any more. [laughs] Actually, when I think about my consciousness, I mean, I understand how I am placed in this society and what the community as I grew up in and what the roots are and I'm watching my kids and I see how they also have those roots, but what I'm consciously trying to put out is the idea in the country now, I think actually the country is ready for a kind of We the People movement which is oriented and based in the Preamble. If you take the Preamble as a tool for organizing, not as a document which was done and finished but as a tool that says there's a class of people who are We the People who are conscious of themselves as We the People who have the responsibility to keep the Constitution as a live document and to change it in a way that makes it relevant to the ongoing evolution of the country and the planet. So that's how I'm trying to see myself as such a person, trying to talk to other people, so I've been giving talks now where I ask people to recite with me the Preamble and think about that it doesn't say We the President, We the Congress, We the Supreme Court, it doesn't even say We the Citizens because the idea of citizenship couldn't be defined before you had a constitution, so it addresses We the People so no one can stop us from actually— The only people who can stop us from actually having such a movement are ourselves, but the government and the states and the Supreme Court, the courts, they can't stop us from having such a consciousness, so that's the consciousness that I'm really trying to both rethink for myself and to put out there for the country.

BOND: Bob Moses, thank you for being with us.

MOSES: Thanks for having me.