Explorations in Black Leadership

Co-Directed by Phyllis Leffler & Julian Bond

Importance of Religion

BOND: Do you have a general philosophy that guides you through life, and if you do, how has it sustained you through moments of challenge or moments of alienation? A general philosophy.

THOMAS: I think that, you know, I’m religious. Even when I thought I wasn’t religious, I was religious, and faith has been just a central part. It’s what’s allowed me to survive in lots of ways, I mean, even in my memoirs, I mentioned whenever there were slights, I went to the chapel. And over the years, even when I wasn’t going to church, I would make visitations. As far as the way I deal with other people, I believe very strongly that you do unto others as you’d have them do unto you, that I treat people the way I want to be treated. I don’t care who it is. The person could be picking up trash or arguing before the Court or whatever. I think that these — that people deserve the same respect that I think I would deserve if I were in that position. So beyond that, I mean, there are other things that I could get into, but those are central to me.