Explorations in Black Leadership

Co-Directed by Phyllis Leffler & Julian Bond

Future Leadership Demands

BOND: What kind of leaders will tomorrow’s society demand? The same? You mentioned Martin Luther King. Is it a Martin Luther King type of person? What do we want in our leadership tomorrow?

PINN: Well, yes, a Martin Luther King type person, of course, but for tomorrow, someone who has benefited from the changes and who understands the changes. I mean, I don’t think you can deal [with] or have a leader tomorrow who would be exactly like someone would [happened when] Frederick Douglass was around or Harriet Tubman was around or even when Martin Luther King was alive, but the same personal attributes, willing to speak out, willing to be informed, willing to inform, willing to take chances to make sure that each of us has the freedoms that we’re guaranteed under our Constitution in this country. And to me, it goes back to terms you’ve used very nicely — having a vision but also having confidence in being willing to deal with adversity if the outcome appears to be one that will better — I don’t want to say mankind — humankind, I guess is the way, and in particular, the populations that are oppressed. And we know that most often the oppressed populations are going to be those who’re poor, those who are of color, at least in this country right now.

BOND: As a society, is there any way we can foster or guarantee the development of this kind of leadership?

PINN: I think there’s a lot we can do. I sort of get concerned as I see the divisiveness that seems to too often permeate public discussions and I’m not sure since I’m not a politician that I’m the one to determine that, but I have some concerns, so I think what I can do and what I can best contribute is what I can do in my own sphere and from my own comments and from own interactions and hope that we’ll see more of that on an individual basis. We have to pay attention to our communities and we have to pay attention to all aspects of our country and the political and governmental and community leadership and to play a role, not just go on own narrow paths.

Beyond that, I’m not sure I want to really say because I’m not a politician but certainly, I think, as is obvious I have very strong opinions. I think the bottom line is you can’t ignore what’s going on. You’ve got to pay attention and we all have to look to follow or to lead those we think can make a difference.

BOND: Dr. Pinn, thank you for being with us.

PINN: Thank you. It’s been a pleasure.

BOND: It’s our pleasure, thank you.