Explorations in Black Leadership

Co-Directed by Phyllis Leffler & Julian Bond

Leadership and Conscience: Defending Clarence Thomas

BOND: You said a moment ago that you were troubled by some things that happened during the Clarence Thomas-Anita Hill hearings and I don't want to ask about the things, but why were these things troubling to you?

WILLIAMS: Anita was a friend. She was very good to me at EEOC. We talked. We were both Southerners. We'd both come from large families. And even though I believed Justice Thomas, I could not understand why she was saying what she was saying and I never took the time to even ask her because you know, it's as if I didn't want to know. I had made my decision that I was with Justice Thomas. I didn't want to ask, but it hurt me to see how we just turned her into this monster, this evil person, and I remember at the hearing one day, she and I walked past each other and she looked at me and she looked like she wanted to cry and it was as if she was saying, "Of all people, how could you -- " And, you know, and I did this, painful, so but I have a conscience, but I'm willing to admit that I did some of those things so others can realize, but you've got to really make sure that when you make these decisions that you're willing to live with the consequences of them. I mean, we all have regrets in our lives. I don't regret supporting and defending Justice Thomas. I regret having to do it at her expense.

BOND: You said a moment ago that you'd been forgiven. Have you been forgiven by her?

WILLIAMS: No. I haven't talked to her.

BOND: Do you require forgiveness by her?

WILLIAMS: No. I should. I guess I should, but some day I'll run into her, but, you know, sometimes these wounds are so deep, I know sometimes time can heal them. And, you know what, the best thing about life is that the best things that happen to us are the things that we cannot plan and hopefully before I die and leave this place, that I can make amends with her. That's my hope.

BOND: She's not hard to find.

WILLIAMS: That's true.