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The Honorable Andrew Young

Andrew Jackson Young, Jr. was born March 12, 1932 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The son of Andrew Jackson Young, Sr., a dentist and Daisy Fuller Young, a teacher, Young grew up in a hostile multi-ethnic neighborhood where his father taught him how to box for survival. Graduating from Gilbert Academy in 1947, at age fifteen, Young was an avid reader who idolized Dr. Ralph Bunche. Attending Dillard University for a year, Young transferred to Howard University where he was on the track and swim teams. Graduating with a B.S. degree in pre-med in 1951, Young was admitted to Hartford Theological Seminary. In 1952, in Marion, Alabama, he met future wife, Jean Childs, as he pastored summer bible school, studied the works of Ghandi and agitated for voting rights. Later, Young met and befriended Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He earned his B.D. degree from Hartford Theological Seminary in 1955.

A product of the United Church of Christ's American Missionary Association (AMA), Young’s first pastorate was at the AMA-founded Bethany Congregational Church in Thomasville, Georgia. In 1957, he went on to the National Council of Churches in New York to work as associate director for youth work and as an administrator for United Church of Christ’s Christian Education Program. Young moved to Atlanta in 1961 and joined the senior staff of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Young played a key role in negotiating the 1963 Birmingham desegregation agreement. He would do likewise in Selma, Alabama. After Dr. King’s assassination in 1968, Young helped lead the Poor Peoples Campaign. In 1972, he was elected the first black congressman from Georgia since Jefferson Long, serving in the United States House of Representatives until1976. Young was appointed by President Carter as United States Ambassador to the United Nations from 1977 to 1979 and was Mayor of the City of Atlanta from 1982 to 1990. He was named chairman of the Southern Africa Enterprise Development Fund by President Clinton in 1995. In 1996, Young served as chairman of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce and co-chairman for the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games.

In 2003, Young was elected as the twentieth president of the National Council of Churches in New York. He has received numerous honorary degrees and awards including the Pax Christi Award from St John's University; the NAACP’s 1970 Springarn Medal; the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1981; the Alpha Kappa Alpha, Peace and Justice Award in1991; and the ROBIE Award in 1998. He is also a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Young is co-chair of Good Works International and a director of the Drum Major Institute. The Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University is one of the country's best policy schools.

Young who is an associate pastor of First Congregational Church in Atlanta, is married to the former Carolyn Watson. He and his first wife, the late Jean Childs Young, have four children, Andrea, Lisa, Paula, and Andrew, III.

Young was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 27, 2005.

Accession Number

A2005.209

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/27/2005

Last Name

Young

Schools

Fort Hayes Metropolitan Education Center

Valena C. Jones Elementary School

Dillard University

Hartford Seminary

Howard University

First Name

Andrew

Birth City, State, Country

New Orleans

HM ID

YOU04

Favorite Season

None

Sponsor

Herman J. Russell

State

Louisiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Interview Description
Birth Date

3/12/1932

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

USA

Favorite Food

None

Short Description

Civil rights leader, mayor, cabinet appointee, pastor, and U.S. congressman The Honorable Andrew Young (1932 - ) is a civil rights legend, former U.N. Ambassador, and the former mayor of Atlanta, Georgia.

Employment

United Church of Christ

National Council of Churches

Southern Christian Leadership Conference

Atlanta Community Relations Commission

United States Government

City of Atlanta

GoodWorks International

Main Sponsor
Main Sponsor URL
Favorite Color

None

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating for The Honorable Andrew Young's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - The Honorable Andrew Young describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - The Honorable Andrew Young describes his childhood community in New Orleans, Louisiana

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - The Honorable Andrew Young recalls his relationship with his maternal grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - The Honorable Andrew Young talks about his philosophy of "Don't get mad, get smart"

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - The Honorable Andrew Young relates how his maternal ancestors supported themselves in New Orleans, Louisiana

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - The Honorable Andrew Young recalls how some of his maternal ancestors passed for white

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - The Honorable Andrew Young describes his father's family background

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - The Honorable Andrew Young talks about the moral codes of his father and paternal grandfather

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - The Honorable Andrew Young describes his paternal grandparents

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - The Honorable Andrew Young describes how his parents met

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - The Honorable Andrew Young recalls his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - The Honorable Andrew Young talks about the role of sports in his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - The Honorable Andrew Young talks about his brother, HistoryMaker Dr. Walter Young

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - The Honorable Andrew Young describes the role of music in his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - The Honorable Andrew Young describes his experiences at Valena C. Jones Elementary School in New Orleans, Louisiana

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - The Honorable Andrew Young recalls a disciplinary incident from third grade at Valena C. Jones Elementary School in New Orleans, Louisiana

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - The Honorable Andrew Young talks about the violent atmosphere of Valena C. Jones Elementary School in New Orleans, Louisiana

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - The Honorable Andrew Young describes his high school experiences at Gilbert Academy in New Orleans, Louisiana

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - The Honorable Andrew Young describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood in New Orleans, Louisiana

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - The Honorable Andrew Young describes his childhood responsibilities within the family

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - The Honorable Andrew Young remembers the murder of his uncle, Walter Fuller

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - The Honorable Andrew Young describes his childhood dreams and aspirations

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - The Honorable Andrew Young describes role models from his childhood in New Orleans, Louisiana

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - The Honorable Andrew Young describes his athletic career at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - The Honorable Andrew Young explains his decision to transfer from Dillard University in New Orleans, Louisiana to Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - The Honorable Andrew Young describes his academic pursuits during his college years

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - The Honorable Andrew Young describes his first religious experience

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - The Honorable Andrew Young talks about the beginnings of his studies of religion

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - The Honorable Andrew Young talks about his social life at Hartford Theological Seminary in Hartford, Connecticut

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - The Honorable Andrew Young describes his experiences attending Hartford Theological Seminary in Hartford, Connecticut

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - The Honorable Andrew Young describes how he met his wife, Jean Childs Young, while assigned to pastor a church in Marion, Alabama

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - The Honorable Andrew Young reflects on his experiences living in Europe in 1952

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - The Honorable Andrew Young describes events from his senior year at Hartford Theological Seminary in Hartford, Connecticut

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - The Honorable Andrew Young describes an encounter with the Ku Klux Klan in Georgia

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - The Honorable Andrew Young talks about how the business community helps to promote social change

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - The Honorable Andrew Young talks about the birth of his first two children

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - The Honorable Andrew Young talks about his support for President Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - The Honorable Andrew Young talks about how he became involved with the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - The Honorable Andrew Young talks about working for the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. during the late 1950s

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - The Honorable Andrew Young describes running citizenship schools with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - The Honorable Andrew Young talks about his tenure as executive director of Southern Christian Leadership Conference

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - The Honorable Andrew Young talks about how he led negotiations with the white community during the 1963 Birmingham, Alabama campaign

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - The Honorable Andrew Young talks about how he became comfortable negotiating with whites

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - List of sponsors for 'An Evening With Andrew Young'

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Introduction to 'An Evening With Andrew Young'

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - HistoryMaker Charlayne Hunter-Gault introduces Andrew Young

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - The Honorable Andrew Young talks about his childhood in New Orleans, Louisiana

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - A scene from the Honorable Andrew Young's childhood

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - The Honorable Andrew Young talks about the educational tradition in which he was raised

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - A scene from the Honorable Andrew Young's college years at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - The Honorable Andrew Young talks about his calling to religious life

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - The Honorable Andrew Young describes meeting his wife, Jean Childs Young in Marion, Alabama

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - A scene from the Honorable Andrew Young's tenure as pastor of Evergreen Congregational Church in Beachton, Georgia

Tape: 7 Story: 11 - The Honorable Andrew Young describes how he first got involved in the Civil Rights Movement as a preacher

Tape: 7 Story: 12 - The Honorable Andrew Young recalls facing and defeating the Ku Klux Klan in Thomasville, Georgia

Tape: 7 Story: 13 - The Honorable Andrew Young describes his tenure working with the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A.

Tape: 7 Story: 14 - The Honorable Andrew Young talks about returning to the South and getting involved in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference

Tape: 7 Story: 15 - A scene about the Honorable Andrew Young's work with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference

Tape: 7 Story: 16 - The Honorable Andrew Young describes how Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. assumed leadership of the Civil Rights Movement, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 17 - The Honorable Andrew Young describes how Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. assumed leadership of the Civil Rights Movement, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 18 - Film clip of the Honorable Andrew Young's political career

Tape: 7 Story: 19 - The Honorable Andrew Young talks about being elected to the United States Congress in 1972

Tape: 7 Story: 20 - The Honorable Andrew Young describes his tenure as United States Ambassador to the United Nations

Tape: 7 Story: 21 - The Honorable Andrew Young describes his tenure as mayor of Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 7 Story: 22 - The Honorable Andrew Young talks about his work with GoodWorks International, LLC in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 7 Story: 23 - The Honorable Andrew Young reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 24 - Credits for 'An Evening with Andrew Young'

DASession

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DATape

4$5

DAStory

6$5

DATitle
The Honorable Andrew Young talks about the beginnings of his studies of religion
The Honorable Andrew Young describes an encounter with the Ku Klux Klan in Georgia
Transcript
Well, that's when [Reverend Dr.] Nicholas Hood [Sr.] had just entered my life. And so when I came back from Kings Mountain [North Carolina], he asked me to drive with him to Texas. Well, I still wasn't quite converted, and my roommate was from San Antonio [Texas]. So I figured I would drive out there with Nick, drop him off at the church conference and go on to San Antonio and, you know, party with my roommate. But we were near San Antonio, but it was about 150 miles more, and Nick Hood and I, two young, black men driving across Texas, and we had not seen anybody black since we left Dallas [Texas]. And this was up in the panhandle. And there was nobody at the conference black. And he said, "You not gonna leave me here by myself, are you?" (Laughter) He said, "You really don't wanna get on that road by yourself and drive another 150 miles." So I ended up staying there, and with daily worship services. And we started every day with a Bible study which he led. And it was though the Bible study was prepared for me--$$(Laughter).$$--though he swears it was something that he had done. I mean the verses, "You did not choose me, I chose you and appointed that you should go and bear fruit, and your fruit should abide." [John 15:16] That was one. "Consider the lilies of the field. They toil not, neither do they spin. Yet Solomon in all his glory is not arrayed like one of these. If God so loves the lilies of the field and the birds of the air, how much more does your Heavenly Father love you?" [Matthew 6:28-30]. I mean it was the first time the Bible actually spoke directly to my condition. And I left there feeling that there had to be a purpose in my life, and that it was probably a religious purpose. Now, because there were no other blacks there, and this was a program hoping to involve young people to recommit their lives to Christ, they invited me to volunteer as a field worker, 'cause there were no black volunteers. So I volunteered and they sent me to Camp [Alexander] Mack in [Milford] Indiana for training. And at Camp Mack, which is a Church of the Brethren camp, I read--somebody gave me my first book on [Mohandas] Gandhi, and then I was sent to Connecticut where I was living on the Hartford [Theological] Seminary [Hartford Seminary, Hartford, Connecticut] campus and decided, since most of my work was with young people after school, and I had nothing much to do until three [o'clock] in the afternoon, I went into the dean and asked if I could audit some courses 'cause I didn't know anything about the Bible. And he said, "Well, if you'd sign up for three, we can probably give you a scholarship. There's a Rockefeller Brothers [Fund] grant for the Negro ministry, and it gives you a year to decide whether you're interested in the ministry or not. And we could--if you'll take three courses, we can give you a scholarship." So I took Old Testament, New Testament and philosophy of religion.$$And so after your mountaintop experience, a defining moment in your life, after your field work or your experience in Texas at the camp and after your field work at Camp Mack, Indiana and your exposure to Gandhi, and your experience taking the courses at Hartford, you felt that your life really had direction.$$It seemed to have a direction.$And I went back then, went back to the same church I'd been at that summer in Thomasville, Georgia. And Maynard Jackson's grandfather [John Wesley Dobbs] was speaking at a voter registration rally--well, actually, I think it was a March of Dimes rally in Columbus [Georgia]. And I went up to hear him, and he asked me, in addition to working for the March of Dimes, he asked, would I be willing to lead a voter registration drive. And I said, sure. But the day I was supposed to--the weekend that I was supposed to lead the voter registration drive, we went up to Albany, Georgia and coming back on a back road, just as we turned around the curve at Doerun, Georgia, right outside of Moultrie [Georgia]. It looked like there were several hundred people with sheets on. There was a gathering of a [Ku Klux] Klan [KKK] rally. Well, I slowed down and eased through the crowd, but my wife [Jean Childs Young] and my three-month old baby [Andrea Young] were in the back seat. And on the way back, we were trying to decide, you know, we had not seen the Klan. We hadn't had any trouble until we put up these signs announcing a voter registration drive. So we figured they were coming to try to intimidate us about voter registration. And there were two things happened that were formative in my life. One, coming out of Hartford [Theological Seminary; Hartford Seminary, Hartford, Connecticut], and Jean was a good, country girl, and one of the things we used to do when we were courting was go back out in the woods with her .22 [rifle] and have a shooting contest. And she could always, I mean we'd stopped off in Coney Island [New York, New York] and at a moving target, she hit sixteen out of twenty. And everything we did was competitive. I mean she'd--so, I mean she could handle a gun with no problem. I said, "Look, if these people come here, you cannot sit here and let them burn down this house." We were in an old house, not unlike this one except that it had not been repaired. We had no carpets on the floor. We were in the process of putting down some linoleum, and putting up sheetrock, and if somebody had thrown a match in there, it would have gone up in smoke. And we were living on the second story. So I said, "I'm gonna go outside and talk to 'em, but I want you to point the gun at the guy that I'm talking to just so we can talk on even terms." This is my translation of Reinhold Niebuhr realpolitik, negotiating from a position of strength, see. And she says, "I'm not gonna point any gun at a human being. I don't care if he is a Klansman." I said, "Woman, well, what do you want? You want them to burn down our house or our baby, kill our three-month old baby? I'm not afraid to die, but there's no need in us running this risk." And she said, "If you don't believe the stuff you're preaching, we just as well fold up and go home. And if you're not gonna trust God in this kind of thing, then you got nothing to preach about." Well, that put me in my place.