Explorations in Black Leadership

Co-Directed by Phyllis Leffler & Julian Bond

Circumstances Create Leaders

BOND: And in the future, for which we're staying tuned, what kind of leaders will contemporary or future society demand? Do we need different sorts of people today or tomorrow morning or next year than we would've, say, a year ago or ten years or twenty?


RASPBERRY: I guess I hearken back to some options you laid out for me before. I think it's always always the case that problems become pressing enough that they demand solutions. And that set of facts demands and creates the leadership necessary to deliver those solutions. Whether we're talking about racial progress or global warming, somebody or somebodies will say, "We just can't let things drift on the way they're drifting. We must do something." I have no idea what qualities those people will have.


I wouldn't have pointed out a Ralph Nader as a leader who was going to make certain things happen among consumers, on behalf of consumers, you know, thirty years ago, but there he was. He might not be the guy to take us -- to do the thing today. Maybe we're all sufficiently different. I don't know.


A huge part of the fun of living is to watch leadership step on the stage. Who would've invented Barack Obama five years ago, and you and I knew something about politics five years ago. He wasn't in our --


BOND: No, he wasn't on my radar screen.


RASPBERRY: Wasn't on our radar. And there he is.