Explorations in Black Leadership

Co-Directed by Phyllis Leffler & Julian Bond

Career Opportunities and Networks: Howard University and Carter’s Task Force

And then I got a call from Jerry [Jerome] Lindsay who was the dean of the School of Architecture and Planning at Howard University.  And I had met Jerry Lindsay  through a very good friend of mine – who was one of my closest personal friends – who was a planner named Joyce Whitley out of Cleveland. Joyce’s brothers were architects and she was a planner. Jerry had called her, saying “I need a chair for my department of City and Regional Planning.  Do you have anybody in mind?”  ‘Cause Joyce was in the private sector – he knew she wasn’t going to come.  She said: “Why don’t you call up Yvonne?”  And he called me up and I left Philadelphia and went to Howard.  Served as chair of the Department of City and Regional Planning  until --

Pat Harris and Bob Embry – invite[d] me to become Deputy Assistant Secretary -- because I had had interface with her.  And I was doing what I have always done, which was writing, speaking out – the confrontation with the editors and the editorial board of the Washington Post  about how poorly they were treating and representing African Americans – I told about earlier – with Vernon Jordan, Carl Holman and – sitting down Eddie Williams saying, “you’ve got to stop this.”

She knew who I was.  And she said:  “Go ask her if she will be the Deputy Assistant Secretary for…” – it was a long title – but it was for planning.  The day that I got there, she had decided to make changes in the urban policy structure which President Carter had created and handed to her to chair.  And she then said

“I want you to be Executive Director of the President’s Urban and Regional Policy Task Force.”  So I did two jobs for a year, and then the policy was finished.  And I stayed on one other year as Deputy Assistant Secretary not doing the policy – the policy went to the White House.  My position is :Don’t ever try to run anything in the White House.  You will lose.  And so I didn’t want to do that.