Dynamic Times Call for Dynamic Leaders

  • Lea E. Williams


In the century between Reconstruction (1865–77) and the emergence of the modern civil rights era (approximately 1954–65), when much of American society was deeply segregated along rigid racial lines,1 authoritarian leadership prevailed in the institutions traditionally controlled by African Americans—their neighborhood churches, historically black colleges and universities,2 and community-based civic and social service organizations. Although black leaders were highly visible and generally well-regarded within the black community,3 fear of reprisals and intimidation forced them to abide by the social mores customarily imposed by whites. In turn, black leaders imposed on followers authoritarian leadership, characterized by a highly structured, task-oriented approach to the management of people. Bureaucratic rules and regulations generally predominated, with authority residing in the office rather than in the person. Relationships tended to be formal and hierarchical.4


Black Community Civil Disobedience Black College Black Panther Party Black Power 
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© Lea E. Williams 1996

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  • Lea E. Williams

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