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Carolyn Young

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.

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Interview Date


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Slater Elementary School

Price Middle School

Clark Atlanta University

Georgia State University

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Favorite Vacation Destination

Cape Town

Favorite Quote

Now, Abided Faith, Hope And Love, But The Greatest Of These Is Love.

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Favorite Food

Hot Dog

Short Description

Civic leader Carolyn Young (1944 - ), wife of former Ambassador Andrew Young, served as the vice chairperson of the Andrew J. Young Foundation. She also taught in the Atlanta Public Schools for over thirty years.


Wesley Elementary School

East Lake Elementary School

GoodWorks International Consultant Firm

E. Rivers Elementary School

Goldsmith Elementary School

Andrew J. Young Foundation

Favorite Color


Timing Pairs

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Carolyn Young's interview</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Carolyn Young lists her favorites</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Carolyn Young describes her mother's family background, pt. 1</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Carolyn Young talks about never meeting her father</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Carolyn Young describes her brother</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Carolyn Young reflects upon her struggles</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Carolyn Young talks about the impact of her father's absence on her family</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Carolyn Young describes her home life</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Carolyn Young describes her mother and grandmother's personalities</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Carolyn Young remembers her early education</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Carolyn Young describes her experiences of bullying</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Carolyn Young describes her mother's family background, pt. 2</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Carolyn Young talks about her family's financial status</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Carolyn Young recalls her childhood aspirations</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Carolyn Young describes her experiences at Luther Judson Price High School in Atlanta, Georgia</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Carolyn Young describes her talent for singing</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Carolyn Young talks about her deductive reasoning skills</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Carolyn Young recalls developing an illness during college</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Carolyn Young describes her experiences at Clark College in Atlanta, Georgia</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Carolyn Young talks about her family's experiences during the Civil Rights Movement</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Carolyn Young remembers her early teaching experiences</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Carolyn Young talks about her attire as a teacher</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Carolyn Young remembers her first husband</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Carolyn Young describes how she was treated by her white colleagues</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Carolyn Young recalls how she was treated by her African American colleagues</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Carolyn Young describes her teaching career in the Atlanta Public Schools</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Carolyn Young recalls attending Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Carolyn Young talks about her approach to black history education, pt. 1</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Carolyn Young talks about her approach to black history education, pt. 2</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Carolyn Young recalls meeting Andrew Young's son</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Carolyn Young describes her initial relationship with the Young family</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Carolyn Young remembers her friend, Elizabeth Knox Blackwell</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Carolyn Young recalls the death of her friend, Elizabeth Knox Blackwell</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Carolyn Young recalls comforting Andrew Young after the death of his wife</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Carolyn Young remembers dating Andrew Young</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Carolyn Young remembers her engagement to Andrew Young</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Carolyn Young describes her wedding</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Carolyn Young recalls the initial response to her marriage to Andrew Young</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Carolyn Young talks about her first impressions of South Africa</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Carolyn Young shares a story from Andrew Young's travels in South Africa</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Carolyn Young talks about the wealth gap in South Africa</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Carolyn Young describes her return from South Africa</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Carolyn Young talks about her family</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Carolyn Young talks about her husband's transnational consulting firm</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Carolyn Young talks about her husband's documentaries</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Carolyn Young describes the Carolyn Young Mentor Walk</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Carolyn Young talks about her mentorship and board memberships</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Carolyn Young talks about her husband's colleagues</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Carolyn Young reflects upon her legacy and how she would like to be remembered</a>







Carolyn Young talks about her approach to black history education, pt. 2
Carolyn Young describes the Carolyn Young Mentor Walk
I said, "You find out what you can do that nobody else can do." I said, "You don't have to follow in--if your dad," I had doctors and lawyers and everything else children in there. Their pare- their maids would drive up there in Mercedes [Mercedes-Benz]. I said, "But, find something that somebody needs or this society is going to want and nobody else has done it." And, they, they started thinking. So, when they did their projects, they would always think outside of the box and stuff. So, we did a lot of that. And, and we talked about how people helped--I said, "Let me tell you something." I said, when I would get (unclear), 'Eyes on the Prize' and show them a piece of it, said, "What you have to realize, this movement was not just a black movement." I said, we were talking about the Civil Rights Movement then. It was very foremost on their mind. I said, "You hear about Martin Luther King [Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.]. You hear about [HistoryMaker] Andrew Young. You hear about Ralph David Abernathy [Ralph Abernathy], Joe Lowery [HistoryMaker Reverend Dr. Joseph Lowery]." I said, "But, there were white people." I say, a lady by the--the first tombstone that Miss Lowery [HistoryMaker Evelyn Gibson Lowery] and I put up on Highway, I think 48 [sic. U.S. Route 80] off Selma [Alabama], was Viola Alousso [sic. Viola Liuzzo]. She had four children [sic.] and her husband was in the union [International Brotherhood of Teamsters] and I think they were in Michigan--$$Right, from Detroit [Michigan].$$Detroit. And, they--she was sitting looking at TV how they were beating these people and putting firehoses. She asked her husband, she left her children, came down to Selma. And, driving one evening in the highway, she had a black man in the car. That was against the law. You couldn't have a black man in the car with a white lady. And, I said, "They killed her. She gave her life." I said, "So, don't think that you hear them. You might not hear about those, those people. But, those people the three boys, Andrew [Andrew Goodman], Matthew [sic. Michael Schwerner], and, the three boys that were killed.$$Schwerner.$$Schwerner and Chaney [James Chaney].$$And Goodman.$$And, Goodman. I said, "They gave their lives." I said, "When you saw that march, what made that march go across the Edmund Pettus Bridge [Selma, Alabama], there was as many white, pastors, and people, and stars, as anybody else." So, I said, "We can't live divided." I said, "We have to come together." So, we never taught separatism, we always taught togetherness, and so the parents really liked that. They really liked that. See, we teach, a lot of times we'd teach in isolation and you can't do that. Not one culture, not one race do anything by themselves. It was a combination. So, I used to tell 'em, I said, "This is, Black History Month's designated to us. But, our black history and American history are all in one."$$Okay. Okay, so, you, in 1982 Andrew Young is elected mayor, succeeds Maynard Jackson. And, you're teaching in Buckhead [Atlanta, Georgia]. You start that same, that (simultaneous)--?$$(Simultaneous) Yeah. I'm teaching at E. Rivers [E. Rivers Elementary School, Atlanta, Georgia]. I taught there until 1997.$What else does [HistoryMaker] Andrew Young--now, there's a Carolyn Young Walk too right?$$Yeah, it's a Carolyn McClain Young Mentor Walk [sic. Carolyn Young Mentor Walk] which we started six years ago. And, I was talking to some friends who are of East Indian descent and they were saying, "We want to put a mentor walk in your name." And, I said, "Oh, I don't know about having anything in my name." I said, "My husband is the famous one." They say, "No, but you've done a lot and you don't want anything for it." I said, "Well, I don't do anything to get anything for it. I do it because it's the right thing to do." But, I shared with them when I was at Clark [Clark College; Clark Atlanta University, Atlanta, Georgia], I used go down to go M. Agnes Jones [M. Agnes Jones Elementary School, Atlanta, Georgia] my sophomore year and volunteer with the students on my free time. And, then at the end of the period I would take, and with some of the teacher, take one class and bring 'em to the college campus so they could see college. And, I said, "You know, a lot of these students would never see a college campus. They don't know college is a friendly place. They don't know the fun that the kids have." So, they said, "Well, that's the more reason we're gonna develop this mentor walk." And, so, we first invited schools to come and we paired up college students with them. The first two mentor walks was at M. Agnes--was Agnes Scott College [Decatur, Georgia], an all girl white college. Then, we went to, after we left Agnes Scott College, we went to Georgia Tech [Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia] for one term. We went to Georgia State [Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia] for one time, and to do the mentor walk. The kids were bused in. It was on a Saturday and we do reading with the younger kids. We have a session where the, we have volunteers from the corporate community that come in and talk to the parents. We had a session for high school kids on self-concept and on talking about careers. And, it was really, really grown. And, the last two years we've had it at Atlanta Technical College [Atlanta, Georgia] because we want kids to see everybody. You don't have to go to a regular college. You can--technical college, I'm on that board as well. And, they do 98 percent graduation and 98 percent job placement. They have the Allied Health Building. They have the beauty part of it, where you do hair. Where you, where you do nails. They have the, now they have a place where you can do the aeronautics, work on airplanes and different things, and the mechanical part. They have so many components. And, then they have a program where the high school students if they're doing real well, they can come over there their senior year and take at least two to three courses which we count for college credit. And, a lot of them will leave early. So, it's just a wonderful thing that we've started. Like, we start on October the 28th visiting school, reading, giving children books, because now children are so technology savvy and they don't read anymore. They--but to hold a book in their hand and see all the beautiful illustrations. You have to start when they're very young and then it will go on. You can't start, you know, even though we include the middle school and high school. And, we have different tracks for them. The little kids we wanna put books in their hands, and tell stories, and get them interested, and do puppetry art, and do different things. But, it has gone very well.