- NAME: Coleman Young
- OCCUPATION: Civil Rights Activist, Mayor
- BIRTH DATE: May 24, 1918
- DEATH DATE: November 29, 1997
- Did You Know?: Coleman Young helped found the National Negro Labor Council in 1951.
- Did You Know?: Coleman Young became the Democratic National Committee's first African-American member in 1968.
- Did You Know?: In 1973, Coleman Young was elected the first African-American mayor of Detroit.
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Tuscaloosa, Alabama
- PLACE OF DEATH: Detroit, Michigan
- Full Name: Coleman Alexander Young
- AKA: Coleman Young
Best Known For
Coleman Young helped found the National Negro Labor Council, which sought jobs for African Americans, and was elected the first African-American mayor of Detroit in 1973.
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Coleman Young was born on May 24, 1918, in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. In 1923, he took a job at the Ford Motor Company, where he became involved in union activities and civil rights issues. He was drafted during World War II and served with the Tuskegee Airmen. After returning to Detroit, Young helped found the National Negro Labor Council in 1951. In 1968, he became the Democratic National Committee's first African-American member. In 1973, Young ran for the Detroit mayorship and won, becoming the city's first African-American mayor. Serving as mayor until 1994, he died in Detroit on November 29, 1997.
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African-Americans have a long history of activism in America, from fighting for the right to vote to pushing for integrated public spaces. Activists like Stokely Carmichael organized freedom rides, James Meredith fought to integrate blacks and whites at the University of Mississippi, and Rosa Parks instigated the Montgomery Bus Boycott. These protests were often legal and nonviolent, and made a powerful impact on civil rights in the United States. With the help of activists like these—and many others—the country slowly worked to acknowledge the basic rights and contributions of African-Americans. Activists outisde of the U.S. include Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela, who have fought against apartheid in South Africa. Learn more about the many black activists who fought against the odds in order to achieve equality.
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