Explorations in Black Leadership

Co-Directed by Phyllis Leffler & Julian Bond

Lifting People Up

BOND: No, but so many people did and it was a hopeful thing for them, a nice thing for them to think about and believe in, but it didn't happen. No, it didn't happen. Do you feel that black leaders have an obligation to help other African Americans? Is there a point at which that obligation ends and one can pursue his or her own ambitions?

WILLIAMS: I think that to use a phrase that Ron Brown used to use quite a bit, it's important to drop the ladder down below and pull people up. I think that's important also and I firmly believe in that, but also I believe in doing that for all people who have aspirations and dreams in my work. I've had lots of different mentors and people who have assisted me in my career and they've been from all parts of this diverse country—white, Latino, black. I've really benefited from that. I've worked in an integrated community, whether it's overseas or here in the United States, and so I'm a firm believer in trying to reach out and help people no matter where they're from, what their backgrounds are.