Explorations in Black Leadership

Co-Directed by Phyllis Leffler & Julian Bond

Reaching toward American leadership

BOND: In a book called Challenging the Civil Rights Establishment, the authors quote William Allen who writes of a danger in continually thinking in terms of race or gender. He says, "until we learn once again to use the language of American freedom in an appropriate way that embraces us all we're going to continue to harm this country." Is there danger or a further divisiveness when we focus on the concept of black leadership? Is black leadership the wrong way to talk about leadership generally?

WILLIAMS: Well, I want to arrive at an America, my vision of America, where we don't have to worry about black or white leadership or Latino leadership. We're talking about American leadership and American leadership to empower all people and give them opportunity to enjoy this great country of ours and so I think it's time to turn the page.

BOND: And a great many people thought when President Obama was elected the first time that racial problems would just vanish like this and, of course, that didn't happen.

WILLIAMS: Of course, you and I didn't believe that. [laughs]