- NAME: Andrew Young Jr.
- OCCUPATION: Educator, Civil Rights Activist, Diplomat, Mayor, U.S. Representative, Pastor
- BIRTH DATE: March 12, 1932 (Age: 81)
- Did You Know?: Andrew Young Jr. was the first African American to serve as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
- Did You Know?: Andrew Young Jr. was the first African American to represent Georgia in Congress since Reconstruction.
- EDUCATION: Howard University, Hartford Theological Seminary, Dillard University
- PLACE OF BIRTH: New Orleans, Louisiana
- Full Name: Andrew Jackson Young Jr.
- AKA: Andrew Young Jr.
- AKA: Andrew Young
- AKA: Andy Young
- ZODIAC SIGN: Pisces
Best Known For
Andrew Young Jr. was an activist for the Civil Rights Movement. He became a member of Congress, mayor of Atlanta and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
Children’s Crusade of 1963 (4:12)
Bloody Sunday (4:04)
On September 15, 1963, a bomb exploded at the 16th Street Baptist Church as church members prepared for Sunday services. The racially motivated attack killed four young girls and shocked the nation.
From May 2 to May 5, 1963, thousands of children left their schools in Birmingham, Alabama, to march for civil rights. Police officers responded by using water cannons and dogs to attack and then arrest the children.
On Sunday, March 21, 1965, nearly 8,000 people began the five-day march from Selma to Montgomery for voting rights.
On March 7, 1965 around 600 people crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge in an attempt to begin the Selma to Montgomery march. State troopers violently attacked the peaceful demonstrators in an attempt to stop the march for voting rights.
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Born on March 12, 1932, in New Orleans, Louisiana, Andrew Young Jr. became active in the Civil Rights Movement, working with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Entering politics, Young served in Congress, was the first African-American ambassador to the United Nations and became mayor of Atlanta. In 1981, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
"There just comes a time when any social movement has to come in off the street and enter politics."
"My daddy told me you don't get mad in a struggle. You get smart. He said racism and white supremacy is a sickness. You don't get angry with sick people. You need to understand them and you need to help them understand you."
"There's no problem on the planet that can't be solved without violence. That's the lesson of the Civil Rights Movement."
"I like my life. I've had a good life. I think the reason is my parents taught me that life is a burden. But if you take it one day at a time, it's an easy burden."
On March 12, 1932, Andrew Jackson Young Jr., known as Andrew Young Jr., was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. The product of a middle-class family—his father was a dentist, his mother a teacher—he had to travel from his neighborhood to attend segregated schools. After graduating from Howard University, Young chose to study at Connecticut's Hartford Theological Seminary. In 1955, he became an ordained minister.
Working as a pastor in Georgia, Young first became part of the Civil Rights Movement when he organized voter registration drives. He moved to New York City to work with the National Council of Churches in 1957, then returned to Georgia in 1961 to help lead the "citizenship schools" that tutored African Americans in literacy, organizing and leadership skills. Though the schools were a success, Young sometimes had trouble connecting with the rural students in the program.
As the Southern Christian Leadership Conference was running the citizenship school program, Young became a member of the organization and began working closely with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Within the SCLC, Young coordinated desegregation efforts throughout the South, including the May 3, 1963 march against segregation during which participants were attacked by police dogs. King valued Young's work, trusting Young to oversee the SCLC when protests meant that King had to spend time behind bars.
In 1964, Young became the SCLC's executive director. While in this position, he helped draw up the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. He was with King in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 4, 1968, the day of King's assassination. Following King's death, Young became executive vice president of the SCLC.
In 1970, Young left the SCLC to make a run for Congress, but was defeated at the polls. Two years later, he ran again, and this time was elected to the House of Representatives. Young was the first African American to represent Georgia in Congress since Reconstruction. In his time as a legislator, he supported programs for the poor, educational initiatives and human rights.
During Jimmy Carter's run for the presidency, Young offered key political support; when Carter was in office, he chose Young to be the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Young left his seat in Congress to take the position. While ambassador, he advocated for human rights on a global scale, such as sanctions to oppose rule by apartheid in South Africa.
In 1979, Young had to resign his ambassadorship, as he had met in secret with Zehdi Labib Terzi, the Palestinian Liberation Organization's U.N. observer.
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