Andrew Jackson Young, Jr. (born March 12, 1932) is a noted Civil rights activist, was the former mayor of Atlanta, Georgia and the United States's ambassador to the United Nations in the Jimmy Carter administration.
After one year at New Orleans' Dillard University, in 1947 Young went to Howard University in Washington D.C. where he received his Bachelor of Science and pre-med degree in 1951. He had originally planned to follow his father's career of dentistry, but then felt a religious calling. He entered the ministry and received a Bachelor of Divinity degree from Hartford Theological Seminary in Hartford, Connecticut in 1955.
Andrew Young then served as pastor of a church in Marion, Alabama. In Marion he met Jean Childs, who was to become his wife, and studied the writings of Mohandas Gandhi. Young became interested in Gandhi's concept of non-violent resistance as a tactic for social change. He encouraged African Americans to register to vote in Alabama, sometimes facing death threats while doing so. He became a friend and ally of Dr. Martin Luther King at this time.
In 1957 moved to New York City to accept a job with the National Council of Churches. However as the civil rights movement heated up Young decided that his place was back in the US South, and moved to Atlanta, Georgia. He again worked on drives to register Black voters. In 1964 he was named executive director of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, with whom he organized many peaceful protests. Young became one of Dr. King's principle lieutenants, and was with King in Memphis, Tennessee when King was shot in 1968.
In 1976, President Jimmy Carter appointed Young the United States Ambassador to the United Nations. He held that post until 1979, when, contrary to the policy of the Carter administration, he met with a representative of the Palestinian Liberation Organization. When the occurrence of that meeting was revealed, Young's public statements on the status of the meeting were condemned as evasive by opponents of the administration and he was forced to resign. Defender's of Carter's role in securing Young's resignation point to the significance of the pledge made by Carter, when he took office in the wake of Watergate, to commit his administration to the highest standards of honesty in its public statements.
Andrew Young was elected mayor of Atlanta in 1981, and re-elected in 1985. He ran unsuccessfully for Governor of Georgia in 1990, losing in the Democratic primary runoff to future Governor Zell Miller.
Young was co-chair of the committee which brought the 1996 Summer Olympics to Atlanta.
Young continues his activism in favor of human rights, and is co-chair of Good Works International and a director of the Drum Major Institute. In 2004, he briefly considered running for US Senate after the incumbent, Zell Miller announced his retirement.
Young is a prominent member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., the first intercollegiate Greek-letter fraternity established for African Americans.
- Young's Presidental Medal of Freedom
- Transcript, Andrew J. Young, Jr., Oral History Interview I, 6/18/70, by Thomas H. Baker, Internet Copy, LBJ Library. Accessed April 3, 2005.
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