Explorations in Black Leadership

Co-Directed by Phyllis Leffler & Julian Bond

Education and Integration

BOND: You wrote in a 1982 Post column that black Americans had a choice between being educated or integrated or both integrated and educated and made being integrated the top priority and the results, you wrote, are socially questionable and educationally disastrous. What'd you mean by that?


RASPBERRY: I don't think I was smart back in '82.


BOND: Yes, you were.


RASPBERRY: No, I -- what I meant by that was a series of things. First, is that for middle-class black children already imbued with the values of their middle-class parents, the education part had already happened and integration was the next logical step for them. What they did, though, was to make this a general prescription, not as a logical next step for people who had already made a substantial step but as a curative step for those who hadn't and it doesn't work -- it doesn't work as a remedy. And what I meant in that column is that when you devote major effort and major financial, economic and political capital to getting the integration to happen, you don't have very much left to make education happen, and we went for a good while without the necessary attention to making education happen. I think it's one of the things that accounts for the situation we're in today where we've got neither education nor integration.