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A Conversation about Black Leaders and the Future of Print

9781137342492Phyllis Leffler has been a professor at U.Va for nearly 30 years and specializes in Public History, the History of U.Va and Oral History. In 2014, she published a book entitled Black Leaders on Leadership: Conversations with Julian Bond, which compliments a project with social activist and Civil Rights leader Julian Bond.

The project is presented by way of the book and website (entitled Explorations in Black Leadership). The book, in my opinion, is an innovative work that many should take notice of due to the fact that Leffler and Bond made the decision to include QR codes, leading the reader to complimentary interviews on their website.

When I asked her, Leffler claimed that the publishing industry seemed hesitant to include the QR codes and thought primarily about what they knew best — print media. But  Leffler and Bond insisted on having them. When taking into account the vivid debate about whether or not print books are dying (ebooks are becoming more and more popular and bookstores are slowly becoming extinct), adding QR codes to print seems like an ingenious way of adapting and attempting to save the art of purchasing and reading print books. Kudos to Leffer and Bond! I think they are onto something special that, if we let it, has the potential to revolutionize the print industry.

The series itself contains interviews from many famous figures, including: John Lewis, Clarence Thomas, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Vernon Jordan, Angela Davis, Amiri Baraka, and many other inspiring leaders.

The oral interview series, Leffler emphasizes, was created to be an educational tool. To teach and transform in different career paths.  On the website there are a variety of interviews and lessons (e.g. What Makes a Good Leader?) and there is even a Final Exam. The website houses the individual interviews and provides additional educational resources; the book synthesizes the interviews and places them in historical context.

 

Thoughts on “A Conversation about Black Leaders and the Future of Print

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