Explorations in Black Leadership

Co-Directed by Phyllis Leffler & Julian Bond

Mother and Libraries

BOND: Who are the people who had the most significance in developing you? Who made you what you are today?

WILLIAMS: Well, I have to give my mother the credit because she was determined I was going to get a good education and she also encouraged me to read. The most important thing for her is what I had to do when I was young was to get a library card and so I became a fixture in my local libraries. The librarians would save the new books that arrived for me. They called me and say, "Aaron, there's a new book coming in, science fiction or whatever it might happen to be, and we want you to read it first." I would go to the library and I'd sit down on Saturday and I'd read the book from front to back because I had this opportunity through the librarian so I became a -- you know --

BOND: You wouldn't take the books home?

WILLIAMS: I wouldn't take them home. I would sit right there and read it.

BOND: Science fiction particularly?

WILLIAMS: Science fiction, histories, biographies. I read a lot of different things. I read all the time.

BOND: You're lucky to have these librarians giving you these suggestions.

WILLIAMS: I was, I was very lucky. I spent a lot of time there, though, Julian. [laughs] They got to know me pretty well in those neighborhood libraries.