Explorations in Black Leadership

Co-Directed by Phyllis Leffler & Julian Bond

Leadership Development: Political Internships

BOND: You mentioned your internship with Congressman Clyburn, but you also work with Shirley Franklin, the Mayor of Atlanta. How’d that come about?

SELLERS: I just called Shirley Franklin and told her who my daddy was and said I needed a job. And she said, “Oh, you’re — ” because my father still calls her Shirley Clarke which was her maiden name when she was at Howard and they’ve known each other from Howard, but she is the most dynamic woman that I’ve ever met in my life and she is petite. She’s like 5’3” maybe? 5’4”? And she is so powerful. The Wall Street Journal noted her as being one of the top three mayors of a major city which I thought was pretty impressive, but what she and Congressman Clyburn both taught me is that it was about public service. It wasn’t necessarily about politics. And they spoke to every single person that they encountered which to me was very impressive. It didn’t matter who you were or whether or not you were the custodian or the president, they talked to you with the same respect.