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Episode 16

Leadership and the Humanities Podcast
Episode 16: (Un)Civil Rights

In the last episode, I talked about the six criteria of a charismatic leader, specifically with relation to toxic charisma and Adolf Hitler. But charisma can be—and is usually thought of as—more positive, a leader who is popular, personable, and trying to improve the world…

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The following works were used in this podcast:

Barnes, Brooks. “From Footnote to Fame in Civil Rights History (Published 2009).” The New York Times, November 25, 2009, sec. Books.

Hoose, Phillip. Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice. Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR), 2009.

“Telegram from Martin Luther King, Jr. to Betty al-Shabazz.” Accessed October 7, 2020.

Published inPodcasts


  1. Kayla O'Connell Kayla O'Connell

    In this week’s episode, Dr. Bezio outlines the Civil Rights Movement. She discusses both the invisible leaders and the figureheads of the movement. Without the help of the invisible leaders, the movement would not have been possible. Bezio later discusses MLK and Malcom X. If MLK and Malcom X were not assassinated, how much different would the world look today? Would there have been a greater progression in legislation?

  2. Zariah Chiverton Zariah Chiverton

    In this podcast, Dr.Bezio talks about the Civil Rights movement. One thing she talks about is how the movement hasn’t really ended the way people think it also but has been deferred. One current example of this would be the Black Lives Matter movement. If there is still a movement to achieve Civil Rights, why has there been no equality legislation passed in so long? Can we really say we’ve progressed since then if our laws say otherwise?

  3. Olivia Cosco Olivia Cosco

    In podcast 16, Dr. Bezio discusses MLK and Malcom X’s drive for racial equality. One thing that stuck out to me was the ending, when she discusses legislation that has been passed based off of MLK’s civil rights movement efforts. What was shocking to me was that since MLK’s affirmative action legislation was passed, no other equality legislation has been passed. If we are really striving for equality, and black people have been fighting for their equality pretty much since then, why hasn’t more legislation been passed? Do you think legislation will be passed as a response to the Black Lives Matter movement?

  4. Julia Borger Julia Borger

    Podcast 16 highlights the Civil Rights Movement regarding MLK and Malcolm X, as well as other invisible leaders. I found it very interesting how the invisible leaders during the movement were mostly black women, working behind the scenes on the logistics and details, however they are never acclaimed for their hard work. It makes me wonder, what other invisible leaders have been left out of history during other major movements?

  5. Zachary Andrews Zachary Andrews

    Podcast 16 introduced the Civil Rights Movement as well as a young protestor whom I had never heard of until listening to this podcast. Claudette Colvin was the first person to fight for her seat on a bus. At the time she was 15 years old and was not recognized by the leaders of the Civil Rights Movement; however, a few weeks later Rosa Parks did the same thing and was idolized for her work. Many believe that Claudette wasn’t recognized for her actions simply because she was too young. My question is, has Claudette Colvin been recognized for her work?

  6. William Coben William Coben

    In Podcast Episode 16, Dr. Bezio discusses the civil rights movement, MLK, Malcolm X, and the invisible leaders that made a difference but are seldomly talked about in textbooks and by word of mouth. Specifically, she talked about a lady who did what Rosa Parks did, but before. Her reasoning for not taking credit resided in the idea that Rosa was better for the movement. My question is: what other instances do we not know the full truth about? Many big-name actors take credit for much of the progress made in civil rights… but who is really behind the scenes doing the dirty work?

  7. Tess Keating Tess Keating

    I found in really interesting how Dr. Bezio talked about how MLK was the face of the Civil Rights Movement, but there was so much behind the scenes work that wasn’t talked about (“invisible leadership”). This made me realize that people want someone to idolize during a time of struggle and there are so many people we don’t hear about (like Claudette Colvin) because everyone is so focused on the figurehead. Who else are “unsung heroes” that we don’t know about and how can we ever recognize them since so many are not taught about in school?

  8. Jeffrey Sprung Jeffrey Sprung

    In Podcast Episode 16, Dr. Bezio discussed the major leaders of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States, such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks, as well as the invisible leaders, such as Claudette Colvin, who played a large role in completing the work that had to be done in order to progress and sustain the Civil Rights Movement in the US. Due to the lack of attention that the invisible leaders of the Civil Rights Movement receive, I always assumed that the well-known leaders of the Civil Rights Movement, such as MLK, were responsible for all the work and progress of the movement. However, after listening to this podcast, I realized that the invisible leaders of the Civil Rights Movement, such as the black woman who organized the logistics of the protests, played just as an important role in the advancement and success of the movement as the famous leaders that we celebrate today. My question is: is it necessary for a movement to have a frontman leader in order to be successful?

  9. Margot Roussel Margot Roussel

    I have learned about the civil rights movements a couple of times, but my teachers have always focused on MLK. In this podcast I was glad to have learned more about Malcom X and it left me wondering what role his faith played in his advocacy?

  10. Alexandra Oloughlin Alexandra Oloughlin

    In history, the most forgotten group of people are black women. We read about the typical men, and then black men, and women, but usually not black women. Thus, it did not come as a surprise to me to hear that the invisible leaders of the civil rights movement were mainly black women. While it is important that a movement has a figurehead to spread the cause and gain awareness, I think that it is important that these invisible leaders get recognized. How can history make changes to educate the general public on invisible leaders? In the same way, this podcast got me thinking about where other invisible leaders are. Would people such as a king’s advisor be considered invisible leaders, or are they too public to be considered invisible?

  11. Christopher Wilson Christopher Wilson

    Why is it that women, especially black women, still haven’t received the equality they deserve- in both law and practice- despite their invisible leadership in social movements? What can we, as Generation Z, do now to ensure that women receive the recognition and equality they deserve? Does this mean that the power of invisible leadership could possibly break down and drain the power from those who demonstrate it?

  12. Delaney Demaret Delaney Demaret

    Public leadership in the Civil Rights movement is a figurehead of the historiography of the times, yet we know that grassroots leaders often worked invisibly or completely behind the scenes. Individual leaders like Parks, MLK, Malcolm X, and others dominate the historiography. In today’s Black Lives Matter movement, how is our conception of leadership changing? Is the posthumous leadership of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor unique to our times? Will new individuals rise as leaders or will we remember this summer’s protests as a collaboration of young grassroots activists working in a network?

    Also, why do we often learn that Rosa Parks’ decision to sit was a spur of the moment act against oppression instead of a calculated move? Isn’t there even more of a learning opportunity if we discuss her position and support network in the NAACP? I don’t see a reason to not to add the idea of grassroots networks and organizations against oppression to youth lessons on the Civil Rights movement , given the inherent power behind networks such as the NAACP.

  13. Christina Glynn Christina Glynn

    In Podcast 16, Dr. Bezio discusses the Civil Rights movement focusing on MLK and Malcomb X as well as invisible leaders such as Claudette Colvin. Why aren’t invisible leaders talked about more? Malcomb X was violent but he is known, Why have I just heard about Claudette Colvin? Who makes these decisions to focus on certain leaders and not others?

  14. Charley Blount Charley Blount

    What role, if any, did Civil Rights Leaders play in the protests against the Vietnam War in the 1970s? Did their role clash with white protesters?

  15. Alexander Barnett Alexander Barnett

    While I realize Malcolm X went back on what the Nation of Islam believed in regarding black separatism, why did the organization find it necessary to assassinate Malcolm X?

  16. Carly Cohen Carly Cohen

    This podcast discussed the civil rights movement in America and the impact of invisible vs well known leaders such as Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. If Martin Luther King Jr and Malcolm X hadn’t been assassinated, do you think things would have turned out differently? Who decides whether a person is an invisible vs well known leader if two people do the same thing?

  17. Julia Leonardi Julia Leonardi

    While you were talking about Malcolm X, I kept thinking about the way history is written. Why is it that he is painted as angry and crazy whenever I hear about him in my history classes, but Robert E Lee is painted as a great general? As I thought more about him, I also realized that the only documentary that has been popular about him was the Netflix one. It focused more on his death and the conspiracies around it than his actual legacy. Why do we continue to do this to black men?

  18. Annie Waters Annie Waters

    Malcolm X was never discussed in my formal education on the Civil Rights Movement, most recognition of advocacy being directed toward MLK. I’ve heard from other students who did learn about Malcolm X in school that he was portrayed to them as a harmful and violent radical in contrast with the moral leadership of MLK. Was this stark contrast something that was portrayed in Malcolm X’s and MLK’s respective public reputations at the time of the Civil Rights Movement, even as the FBI regarded MLK as a significant threat, or was it something that developed later on?

  19. Sophia Peltzer Sophia Peltzer

    This podcast episode brought up some very interesting points about who we, collectively as a society, see as the important figures in various social and political movements throughout history. As Dr. Bezio discussed in the podcast, many important leaders and influencers in these movements are left behind and not included in the narrative for one reason or another; for example, black women in the Civil Rights movement. My question based on this is, what other movements have leaders that aren’t necessarily the first or the most important to do or say something? What other movements have invisible leaders, and who are they? And most pressingly, as we are in a time of political and social revolution currently, who will the invisible leaders of our time be? Will the prevelance of technology and documentation keep certain leaders from getting left behind in history?

  20. Samuel Hussey Samuel Hussey

    In this week’s podcast, Dr. Bezio discussed the Civil Rights Movement and the different leaders and figureheads of the movement. One cannot look back on the Civil Rights Movement without comparing it to the Black Lives Matter Movement of today. My question is: Will Breonna Taylor and George Floyd be looked upon as the “leaders” of the BLM movement despite their impact being done posthumously?

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