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Dr. Walter Young

Dentist and civil rights activist Dr. Walter Fuller Young was born on August 18, 1934, in New Orleans, Louisiana, to Daisy Valentine Fuller Young and Andrew Jackson Young, a dentist. Young attended Valeda C. Jones School with his brother Andrew Young. He later attended Gilbert Academy and then went on to attend and graduate from Princeton High School in Princeton, New Jersey, in 1951. Young earned his B.A. degree from Baldwin Wallace College in Ohio in 1955. Following in his father’s footsteps, Young studied dentistry at Howard University Dental School.

After a stint as a dentist in the United States Navy, Young returned to New Orleans, where his father had practiced, established his dental practice and taught at Dillard University. At the same time, Young became an active supporter of the All African Students Association’s lunch counter sit-ins at New Orleans’ downtown Woolworth’s and at other New Orleans businesses from 1961 to 1964. During that same period, Young was introduced to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., by his brother, SCLC’s Rev. Andrew Young. Moving to Atlanta in 1978, Young joined his brother and worked to address the issues of dental health maintenance and the establishment of dental programs in schools, churches and organizations in the Atlanta area. Young’s dental practice has been active in the same location for twenty-eight years. He is a member of the North Georgia Dental Society and the American Dental Association. Young is owner and president of Young International Development Corporation and serves as a director of Jamaica Communications, Datacom International, Inc., and Health Management Decisions.

As a member of the City of Atlanta Blue Ribbon Committee on Equal Business Opportunity, Young is involved in a number of civic and community programs. He is a consultant to the Osaka American Club of Japan, American Computer Technology in Atlanta, Gulfstream Aerospace in Savannah, and Grady Healthcare in Atlanta. Possessing a keen interest in African American history, Young is honorary consul general for Liberia and has traveled extensively on the African continent. In 2004, Atlanta’s Southwest YMCA was named for Young and his brother, Andrew.

Young is married to event planner, Sonjia Young, and is father to five children.

Accession Number

A2006.115

Sex

Male

Interview Date

10/12/2006 |and| 12/13/2006

Last Name

Young

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Schools

Princeton High School

Valena C. Jones Elementary School

Baldwin Wallace University

Howard University

Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Any

First Name

Walter

Birth City, State, Country

New Orleans

HM ID

YOU05

Speakers Bureau Preferred Audience

All

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

No

Favorite Season

Summer

Speaker Bureau Notes

Preferred Audience: All

State

Louisiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

8/18/1934

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Gumbo, Crab (Softshell)

Short Description

Civil rights activist and dentist Dr. Walter Young (1934 - ) worked in the Civil Rights Movement in New Orleans with the All African Students Association, and later in Atlanta on issues of dental health. Young founded his Atlanta dental practice in 1978, and was owner and president of the Young International Development Corporation.

Employment

Young International Development Corporation

Walter F. Young, DDS

Southern Christian Leadership Conference

Favorite Color

Blue

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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Dr. Walter Young's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Dr. Walter Young lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Dr. Walter Young describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Dr. Walter Young recalls his maternal uncle who passed for white

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Dr. Walter Young describes his maternal grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Dr. Walter Young describes his family life as a child in New Orleans

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Dr. Walter Young describes his mother's education in New Orleans, Louisiana

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Dr. Walter Young describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Dr. Walter Young describes his parents and who he takes after

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Dr. Walter Young describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Dr. Walter Young describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Dr. Walter Young recalls fights from his childhood in New Orleans, Louisiana

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Dr. Walter Young recalls the role of music in his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Dr. Walter Young describes his father's dental practice in New Orleans

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Dr. Walter Young describes his grade school experiences in New Orleans

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Dr. Walter Young recalls traveling with his family during childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Dr. Walter Young describes his experiences at Princeton High School

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Dr. Walter Young describes his experiences at Baldwin-Wallace College, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Dr. Walter Young describes his experiences at Baldwin-Wallace College, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Dr. Walter Young recalls attending Howard University College of Dentistry

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Dr. Walter Young talks about African American leaders at Howard University

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Dr. Walter Young recalls Africans' involvement in New Orleans' Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Dr. Walter Young talks about New Orleans' Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Dr. Walter Young describes his friendships with the King family

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Dr. Walter Young describes the Civil Rights Movement after Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.'s death

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Dr. Walter Young describes his humanitarian involvement in Africa

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Dr. Walter Young talks about how his childhood prepared him for success

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Dr. Walter Young describes his involvement with the Young Men's Christian Association

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Dr. Walter Young recalls serving as an officer in the U.S. Navy

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Dr. Walter Young describes his work in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Dr. Walter Young recalls the Atlanta Missing and Murdered Children cases

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Dr. Walter Young describes his diplomatic and business pursuits in Africa

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Dr. Walter Young describes his collaborations with Liberia's presidents

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Dr. Walter Young describes his support for Liberians in the United States

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Dr. Walter Young talks about how U.S. immigration laws affect Liberians

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Dr. Walter Young describes his involvement in Atlanta's politics

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Dr. Walter Young talks about his dental career in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Dr. Walter Young talks about immigrant owned businesses in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Dr. Walter Young describes his hopes and concerns for the United States

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Dr. Walter Young narrates his photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Dr. Walter Young narrates his photographs, pt. 2

DASession

1$2

DATape

1$4

DAStory

11$7

DATitle
Dr. Walter Young describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood
Dr. Walter Young describes his collaborations with Liberia's presidents
Transcript
What were some of the other sights and sounds and smells of growing up [in New Orleans, Louisiana]?$$The sights and sounds--$$And smells of growing up. What did they call your neighborhood?$$We grew up in a mixed neighborhood. We had an Irish grocery store on one corner, an Italian bar on another corner, and the third corner right on Galvez [Street] and Cleveland [Avenue], that was a German beer garden, and before the Second World War [World War II, WWII], his kids are, we would just play around in the bushes and peek through the windows, trying to see what was going on because they were singing songs in German, and we would peek through the window. And they were actually flags in there with a swastika, and we can remember them saying, "Heil Hitler, Heil Hitler." That was before the Second World War. Of course, when the Second World War broke out, the place was closed down.$$That's interesting.$$And we only had about oh, two or three black families in the neighborhood, and then we had a lot of Cajun people in the neighborhood. It was mostly white.$$Okay.$$So I think that's where my brother [HistoryMaker Andrew Young] got his diplomatic skills growing up in the neighborhood, when he had to communicate and meet with diverse people, people of different cultural and ethnic backgrounds, trying to get along with different people. We both learned that very young.$You talked about so many things that have happened in Liberia as you were working there. Some of the things you spoke about, let's elaborate on some of them. When Charles Taylor was there, you wanted to speak to some of the things that were going on that might have affected the business that you were doing.$$Yes. Charles Taylor really spent a lot of time here in Georgia, in Macon, Georgia; so, I knew him as a young man. However, I served under his presidency, but I had very little contact with him. I didn't go to Liberia during those years, so, but I, my interest was supporting the Liberians living in Georgia, who needed their passport renewed--that needed support, immigration support, that needed someone to support their efforts to live in the Atlanta [Georgia] area. Most were here under the amnesty program [Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986] and they had some who had come here to go to college and stay. We have roughly over ten thousand Liberians here in the Atlanta area, so I was responsible for all of the Liberians during those days, and it was a very warm relationship. I got to make many good friends, whom I still have today. It's going back to, since 1985, so I do have some long-term friends who are still here. Now that we have a democratic government and we are trying to rebuild Liberia, my role is to try to assist and encourage American companies in investing in Liberia and trying to get Liberians who have been educated in America to somehow think in terms of going back home to rebuild the country.$$Yeah, and I think that's important. I understand that when the new president [Ellen Johnson Sirleaf] took office there, she had to get rid of a lot of her government officials because they were uneducated, so--$$I know she's tried to retain as many as she could. She's, it's just a great challenge for her because Liberia was at war for so long, so young people were not schooled; in other words, all they knew how to do and still do, was to carry a gun and so many of them were not educated, so, now what do you do with ex-combatants, as we call them? Those young people who grew up fighting. What do we do with them now? We can try to create an educational system. Mostly, I would encourage vocational education, and I'm trying to encourage as much support, vocational support as I can, from America and that's my challenge now; doing whatever I can do to support Liberia and to help it to grow, and I'm following, of course, the lead of my president.