Civic leader Carolyn Young was born on September 14, 1944 in Atlanta, Georgia to Dorothy Wilmont Harden and George McClain, Sr. Young graduated from Price High School in 1962, and went on to receive her B.S. degree in sociology and elementary education from Atlanta's Clark College in 1966. After teaching at Wesley Elementary School for several years, Young received her M.A. degree in elementary education from Georgia State University in 1971.
Upon graduating from Georgia State University, Young became a teacher at East Lake Elementary School in Atlanta, where she helped to desegregate the faculty. She taught kindergarten through seventh grade but primarily focused her attention on fifth grade students. She went on to teach at E. Rivers Elementary School, where she also served as a Sunday school superintendent at Union Baptist Church. Young married U.S. Ambassador Andrew Young in Capetown, South Africa in 1996, and retired from teaching. She worked as the protocol contact for foreign dignitaries at GoodWorks International, a transnational business management consulting firm founded by her husband in 1996. There, she coordinated logistics, travel, and events around the world. Young served as vice chair of the Andrew J. Young Foundation and as the executive director of Andrew Young Presents, the Young Foundation’s Emmy award-winning, nationally syndicated documentary series highlighting Africa, the Civil Rights Movement and other social issues.
Young received many honors for her dedication to elementary school teaching, including the Atlanta Area II Teacher of the Year award. Young was a recipient of the Southern Bell Black History Calendar “Teacher of Excellence” Award, the Georgia Teachers Incentive Award for Intermediate Grades. Young also served on the board of directors for numerous organizations including the United Negro College Fund, the Andrew & Walter Young YMCA, Atlanta Area Technical College, WestCare, the Andrew Young School of Public Policy at Georgia State University, and Clark Atlanta University. She was honored by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference Women, and was the recipient of the Mankind Assisting Students Kindle Educational Dreams Award, the Outstanding United Negro College Fund Volunteer Award, and the Lady Who Leads Award.
Carolyn Young was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 2, 2016.