Andrew Young
Andrew Young

Andrew Young
Andrew Jackson Young Jr. (born March 13, 1932) is an American politician, diplomat, and activist. Beginning his career as a pastor, Young was an early

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For other people with the same name, see Andrew Young (disambiguation). Andrew Young 55th Mayor of Atlanta In office
January 4, 1982 – January 2, 1990Preceded by Maynard JacksonSucceeded by Maynard Jackson14th United States Ambassador to the United Nations In office
January 30, 1977 – September 23, 1979President Jimmy CarterPreceded by William ScrantonSucceeded by Donald McHenryMember of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Georgia's 5th district In office
January 3, 1973 – January 29, 1977Preceded by Fletcher ThompsonSucceeded by Wyche Fowler Personal detailsBorn Andrew Jackson Young Jr.
(1932-03-13) March 13, 1932 (age 86)
New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.Political party DemocraticSpouse(s) Jean Childs (deceased 1994)
Carolyn McClain (1996–present)Children 4Education Dillard University
Howard University (BS)
Hartford Seminary (BDiv)

Andrew Jackson Young Jr. (born March 13, 1932) is an American politician, diplomat, and activist. Beginning his career as a pastor, Young was an early leader in the Civil Rights Movement, serving as executive director of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and a close confidant to Martin Luther King Jr. Young later became active in politics, serving first as a U.S. Congressman from Georgia, then United States Ambassador to the United Nations, and finally Mayor of Atlanta. Since leaving political office, Young has founded or served in a large number of organizations working on issues of public policy and political lobbying.

Contents Early life

Andrew Young was born on March 13, 1932 in New Orleans, Louisiana, to Daisy Meyer Young, a school teacher, and Andrew Jackson Young Sr., a dentist. Young's father hired a professional boxer to teach Andrew and his brother how to fight, so they could defend themselves. In a 1964 interview with author Robert Penn Warren for his book, Who Speaks for the Negro?, Young recalls the tensions of segregation in New Orleans, especially growing up in a fairly well-to-do household. He recalls his parents trying to "compensate for segregation" by providing for their children but were reluctant to help less wealthy black communities in the area.[1] Young graduated from Howard University and earned a divinity degree from Hartford Seminary in Hartford, Connecticut, in 1955. He is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.[2]

Early career

Young was appointed to serve as pastor of a church in Marion, Alabama. It was there in Marion that he met Jean Childs, who later became his wife. Young became interested in Mahatma Gandhi's concept of nonviolent resistance as a tactic for social change. He encouraged African Americans to register to vote in Alabama, and sometimes faced death threats while doing so. It was at this time that he became a friend and ally of Martin Luther King Jr.

In 1955 he accepted a pastorate at Bethany Congregational Church in Thomasville, Georgia.[3]

In 1957, Young and Jean moved to New York City when he accepted a job with the Youth Division of the National Council of Churches. While in New York, Young regularly appeared on Look Up and Live, a weekly Sunday morning television program on CBS, produced by the National Council of Churches in an effort to reach out to secular youth.[4]

Young served as a pastor of the Evergreen Congregational Church in Beachton, Georgia during 1957-59.[5]

In 1960, he joined the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.[6] No longer satisfied with his work in New York City, Young moved to Atlanta, Georgia in 1961 upon the invitation of Bernard Lafayette and again worked on drives to register black voters. Young played a key role in the 1963 events in Birmingham, Alabama, serving as a mediator between the white and black communities as they negotiated against a background of protests.

In 1964, Young was named executive director of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), becoming, in that capacity, one of King's principal lieutenants. As a colleague and friend of Martin Luther King Jr., he was a strategist and negotiator during the Civil Rights Campaigns in Birmingham (1963), St. Augustine (1964), Selma (1965), and Atlanta (1966). He was jailed for his participation in civil rights demonstrations, both in Selma, Alabama, and in St. Augustine, Florida. The movement gained congressional passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965. Young was with King in Memphis, Tennessee, when King was assassinated in 1968.[7]


In 1970, Young ran as a Democrat for Congress from Georgia, but was unsuccessful. After his defeat, Rev. Fred C. Bennette Jr. introduced him to Murray M. Silver, an Atlanta attorney, who served as his campaign finance chairman. Young ran again in 1972 and won. He later was re-elected in 1974 and in 1976. During his four-plus years in Congress, he was a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, and was involved in several debates regarding foreign relations, including the decision to stop supporting the Portuguese attempts to hold on to their colonies in southern Africa. Young also sat on the powerful Rules Committee and the Banking and Urban Development Committee. Young opposed the Vietnam War,[8] helped enact legislation that established the U.S. Institute for Peace, established the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area and negotiated federal funds for MARTA and the Atlanta Highways.

Ambassador to the United Nations Ambassador Young, calling from New York City on an STU-I secure phone during the Egypt–Israel peace talks. (NSA museum)

In 1977, President Jimmy Carter appointed Young to serve as the United States Ambassador to the United Nations. Young was the first African-American to hold the position. Atlanta city councilman Wyche Fowler won the special election to fill Young's seat in Congress.

Although the US and the UN enacted an arms embargo against South Africa, as President Carter’s UN ambassador, Andrew Young vetoed economic sanctions.[9]

Young caused controversy when, during a July 1978 interview with French newspaper Le Matin de Paris, while discussing the Soviet Union and its treatment of political dissidents, he said, "We still have hundreds of people that I would categorize as political prisoners in our prisons," in reference to jailed civil-rights and anti-war protestors. In response, U.S. Representative Larry McDonald (D-GA) sponsored a resolution to impeach Young, but the measure failed 293 to 82. Carter referred to it in a press conference as an "unfortunate statement".[2]

In 1979, Young played a leading role in advancing a settlement in Rhodesia with Robert Mugabe and Joshua Nkomo, who had been two of the military leaders in the Rhodesian Bush War, which had ended in 1979. The settlement paved the way for Mugabe to take power as Prime Minister of the newly formed Republic of Zimbabwe. There had been a general election in 1979, bringing Bishop Abel Muzorewa to power as leader of the United African National Council leading to the short-lived country of Zimbabwe Rhodesia. Young refused to accept the election results, and described the election as "neofascist", a sentiment echoed by United Nations Security Council Resolution 445 and 448. The situation was resolved the next year with the Lancaster House Agreement and the establishment of Zimbabwe.[2]

Young's favoring of Mugabe and Nkomo over Muzorewa and his predecessor and ally, Ian Smith, was, and remains, controversial. Many African-American activists, including Jesse Jackson and Coretta Scott King, supported the anti-colonialism represented by Mugabe and Nkomo.[2] However, it was opposed by others, including civil-rights leader Bayard Rustin, who argued that the 1979 election had been "free and fair",[10] as well as senators Harry F. Byrd Jr. (I-VA) and Jesse Helms (R-NC). It was later criticized in 2005 by Gabriel Shumba, executive director of the anti-Mugabe Zimbabwe Exiles Forum.[11]

In July 1979, Young discovered that an upcoming report by the United Nations Division for Palestinian Rights called for the creation of a Palestinian State. Young wanted to delay the report because the Carter Administration was dealing with too many other issues at the time. He met with the UN representatives of several Arab countries to try to convince them the report should be delayed; they agreed in principle, but insisted that the Palestine Liberation Organization also had to agree. As a result, on July 20, Young met with Zehdi Terzi, the UN representative of the PLO, at the apartment of the UN Ambassador from Kuwait. On August 10, news of this meeting became public when Mossad leaked its illegally acquired transcript of the meeting first to Prime Minister Menachem Begin, and then through his office to Newsweek.[12] The meeting was highly controversial, since the United States had already promised Israel that it would not meet directly with the PLO until the PLO recognized Israel's right to exist.[2]

Young's UN ambassadorship ended on August 14.[2][13][14] Jimmy Carter denied any complicity in what was called the "Andy Young Affair", and asked Young to resign. Asked about the incident by Time soon afterward, Young stated, "It is very difficult to do the things that I think are in the interest of the country and maintain the standards of protocol and diplomacy... I really don't feel a bit sorry for anything that I have done."[15] Soon afterward, on the television show Meet the Press, he stated that Israel was "stubborn and intransigent."[13]

After his ambassadorship ended, Young became a frequent guest lecturer at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan.[16]

Atlanta mayor

In 1981, after being urged by a number of people, including Coretta Scott King, the widow of Martin Luther King Jr., Young ran for mayor of Atlanta. He was elected later that year with 55% of the vote, succeeding Maynard Jackson. As mayor of Atlanta, he brought in $70 billion of new private investment.[17] He continued and expanded Jackson's programs for including minority and female-owned businesses in all city contracts. The Mayor's Task Force on Education established the Dream Jamboree College Fair that tripled the college scholarships given to Atlanta public school graduates. In 1985, he was involved in renovating the Atlanta Zoo, which was renamed Zoo Atlanta.[18] Young was re-elected as mayor in 1985 with more than 80% of the vote. Atlanta hosted the 1988 Democratic National Convention during Young's tenure. He was prohibited by term limits from running for a third term. During his tenure, he talked about how he was "glad to be mayor of this city, where once the mayor had me thrown in jail."[19]

Race for governor of Georgia, 1990

After leaving the mayor's office in early 1990,[20] Young launched a bid for the Democratic nomination for governor in 1990.[21] He ran in a primary that included three former or future governors of Georgia: then lieutenant governor Zell Miller, then-state senator Roy Barnes, and former governor Lester Maddox. The field also contained then state representative Lauren "Bubba" McDonald. The first poll put Young at 38 percent to Miller's 30 percent, 15 percent for Maddox and 10 percent for Barnes with McDonald trailing at 7 percent. Young campaigned hard but by the primary, with no central message, his campaign ran into trouble against the well-heeled and prepared lieutenant governor. Miller led the primary with 40 percent to Young's 29 percent and 21 percent for Barnes, Maddox got 7 percent and McDonald rounded out at 3 percent. Future U.S. senator Johnny Isakson won the Republican nomination.[22] After Miller's stunning and broad-based primary win, Young's race floundered. Many think he failed in his effort by trying to garner support amongst rural, conservative white voters, rather than turning out his urban and African-American base. Also, Young never found an issue that roused supporters, unlike Miller, who won voters by championing a state lottery. Miller won the runoff, 2 to 1 and ended Young's gubernatorial aspirations for good.[23]

Post-mayoral career

Young has been a director of the Drum Major Institute for Public Policy, and is also the chairman of the board for the Global Initiative for the Advancement of Nutritional Therapy.[24]

From 2000 to 2001, Young served as president of the National Council of Churches.[25]

Andrew Young at the LBJ Presidential Library in 2013

In 2003, Young founded the Andrew Young Foundation, an organization meant to support and promote education, health, leadership and human rights in the United States, Africa and the Caribbean.[26]

From February to August 2006, Young served as the public spokesman for Working Families for Wal-Mart, an advocacy group for the retail chain Wal-Mart.[27][dead link] Young resigned from the position soon after a controversial interview with the Los Angeles Sentinel, in which, when asked about Wal-Mart hurting independent businesses, he replied, "You see those are the people who have been overcharging us, and they sold out and moved to Florida. I think they’ve ripped off our communities enough. First it was Jews, then it was Koreans and now it’s Arabs."[28]

In 2007, GoodWorks Productions released the documentary film Rwanda Rising,[29] about Rwanda's progress since the Rwandan genocide of 1994. Young also served as the film's narrator. Rwanda Rising premiered as the opening night selection at the Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles in 2007.[30]

An edited version of Rwanda Rising served as the pilot episode of Andrew Young Presents,[31] a series of quarterly, hour-long specials airing on nationally syndicated television.[32]

On January 22, 2008, Young appeared as a guest on the television show The Colbert Report. Host Stephen Colbert invited Young to appear during the writers' strike, because, in 1969, Young and Colbert's father had worked together to mediate a hospital workers' strike.[33] Young made another appearance on The Colbert Report on November 5, 2008, to talk about the election of Barack Obama to the presidency.[34]

On January 9, 2015, Young gave the keynote address at Vanderbilt University's Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration Day. The theme was "Dismantling Segregation: Race, Poverty, and Privilege", and Young spoke about his experiences in Selma, stories of traveling with King, and his advice to the next generation of leaders.[35]

Personal life and family

Young has four children with his first wife, Jean Childs, who died of liver cancer in 1994.[36] He married Carolyn McClain in 1996.[37]

In September 1999, Young was diagnosed with prostate cancer which was successfully removed with surgery in January 2000.[38]

Books Writings Awards and honors Places named after Andrew Young In popular culture

Young is played by Andre Holland in the 2014 film Selma.

See also References
  1. ^ Warren, Robert Penn (17 March 1964). "Andrew Young". Robert Penn Warren's Who Speaks for the Negro? (Archive). 
  2. ^ a b c d e f DeRoche, Andrew (2003). Andrew Young: Civil Rights Ambassador. ISBN 0-8420-2956-7. 
  3. ^ Biography in New Georgia Encyclopedia
  4. ^ "Charles Templeton memoir". 
  5. ^ Steven H. Moffson and Mishie M. Bryant (September 1, 2002). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory/Nomination: Evergreen Congregational Church and School". National Park Service. Retrieved March 6, 2017.  with 18 photos (see photo captions pages 14-15 of text document)
  6. ^ DeRoche, Andrew J. (1994). "A Cosmopolitan Christian: Andrew Young and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, 1964-68". Journal of Religious Thought. 51 (1): 67–80. 
  7. ^ "With Andrew Young in 1968". Los Angeles Times. 21 December 2012. 
  8. ^ a b "Andrew Young". Encyclopædia Britannica. 
  9. ^ Fuchs, Cynthia (12 January 2012). "Doc Series 'Have You Heard From Johannesburg' Premieres on PBS 1/12". PopMatters. 
  10. ^ Rustin, Bayard (July 1979). "The War Against Zimbabwe". Commentary. [permanent dead link]
  11. ^ Hill, Geoff (2005). What happens after Mugabe?. p. 8. ISBN 978-1-77007-102-5. 
  12. ^ Ostrovsky, Victor (1990). By Way of Deception: The Making and Unmaking of a Mossad Officer. New York: St Martin's Press. pp. 280–283. ISBN 0312056133. 
  13. ^ a b Frum, David (2000). How We Got Here: The '70s. New York, New York: Basic Books. pp. 272–273. ISBN 0-465-04195-7. 
  14. ^ "Foreign Policy, Black America and the Andy Young Affair". Ebony. January 1980. 
  15. ^ "The Fall of Andy Young". Time. 27 August 1979. Archived from the original on 28 June 2011. 
  16. ^ "Atlanta's Young Hopes To Use a Page from Coleman Young's Book". Google News. The Argus-Press. 13 November 1951. 
  17. ^ White, Jessica (6 August 2012). "Young returns to share his global vision". The Chautauquan Daily. 
  18. ^ Smothers, Ronald (5 October 1987). "Atlanta's Zoo Rebounds After Deaths of Animals". The New York Times. 
  19. ^ "Young Easily Wins Again In Atlanta". Chicago Tribune. 10 October 1985. 
  20. ^ "Young, Andrew Jackson Jr. (1932–)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. 
  21. ^ Smothers, Ronald (26 November 1989). "Andrew Young Going Afield to Run for Governor". The New York Times. 
  22. ^ Smothers, Ronald (18 July 1990). "Young Gains Berth in a Runoff To Run for Governor of Georgia". The New York Times. 
  23. ^ Schmich, Mary T. (8 August 1990). "Young Loses Governor Runoff". Chicago Tribune. 
  24. ^ "Global Initiative For The Advancement of Nutritional Therapy". Giant Global. 10 April 2007. Archived from the original on 10 April 2007. 
  25. ^ "NCC PRESIDENT 2000-2001: Ambassador Andrew Young". 
  26. ^ "Andrew Young Foundation homepage". Andrew Young Foundation. 2012-11-07. 
  27. ^ "Young faces criticism in position on Wal-Mart". Atlanta Journal-Constitution. 25 April 2006. Archived from the original on 12 February 2008. 
  28. ^ Barbaro, Michael; Greenhouse, Steven (18 August 2006). "Wal-Mart Image-Builder Resigns". The New York Times. 
  29. ^ Rwanda Rising (2007) on IMDb
  30. ^ "Premiere Of Rwanda Rising Is Sept. 1". The Chattanoogan. 13 August 2007. Archived from the original on 23 June 2011. 
  31. ^ "Andrew Young Presents" (2008) on IMDb
  32. ^ "Andrew Young Presents". 
  33. ^ Poniewozik, James (3 November 2008). "The Colbert Report, Jan. 22 episode". Time. 
  34. ^ "The Colbert Report - The Colbert Report 11/5/08". TV Guide. 5 November 2008. 
  35. ^ "2015 Schedule of Events". Vanderbilt University. 
  36. ^ "Jean C. Young, 61, Educator, Activist And Wife Of Former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young, Dies of Cancer". Jet. 3 October 1994. 
  37. ^ "Andrew Young Weds Carolyn McClain In Cape Town, S. Africa". Jet. 25 April 1996. 
  38. ^ "Andrew Young Released from Hospital after Cancer Surgery in Atlanta". Ebscohost. Jet (magazine). 3 June 1996. 
  39. ^ "Four Freedoms Award". Archived from the original on 2012-11-01. 
  40. ^ "Roy O. Martin Jr. obituary". The Shreveport Times. 24 March 2007. 
  41. ^ Saporta, Maria (18 January 2010). "Cobb Chamber seeks region-minded president". Atlanta Business Chronicle. 
  42. ^ "Emmys honor former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young". CBS. 23 February 2011. Archived from the original on 29 June 2011.  ().
  43. ^ Mobley, Chuck (22 January 2012). "Civil rights icon, Atlanta developer will share stage at Feb. 11 GHS gala". Savannah Morning News. 
  44. ^ "1996: The Creation of a Policy Powerhouse". Georgia State University. 2012. Archived from the original on 2013-02-17. 
  45. ^ "Andrew and Walter Young Celebrate a YMCA Milestone". Atlanta Magazine. 12 February 2010. Archived from the original on 7 July 2011.  ().
  46. ^ "Delta Aircraft Livery". Delta Flight Museum. 
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