How Important Was Andrew Young to American History?
Andrew Young is an American politician, diplomat, rights activist and church minister. He was active in fighting for the rights and economic empowerment of the Black American people. Young’s influence went beyond the borders as he also advocated for liberation and economic development in African and Caribbean states Early life and education Church ministry Rights activism and SCLC Service in Congress Ambassador to the United Nations Works Awards Early Life And Education
Andrew ? Andy” Young was born on March 12, 1932, in New Orleans Louisiana. His father, Andrew Jackson Young, was a dentist and his mother, Daisy Fuller Young, was a teacher. From a young age he noticed that Whites and Blacks were not treated the same. Blacks were not allowed to go to the same schools, restaurants or use the same public washrooms as the whites. His father hired a boxer to train him and his brother Walter, so that they could defend themselves; however Young did not subscribe to this idea as he believed that disputes should be settled peacefully.
He believed that the most powerful weapon you have is your mind (Young 1996 p24) He went to school in Gilbert Academy in New Orleans where he graduated at the age of fifteen. He went to Dillard University, New Orleans for a year before he transferred to Howard University, Washington D. C. , in 1947. From Howard, he graduated with a bachelor of science in pre-dentistry at the age of nineteen. Church Ministry After his graduation, he took up voluntary work in the Christian Youth Movement. It? while he was in this service that he discovered his calling was in ministry.
He enrolled in Hartford Theological Seminary, Connecticut in 1952. He learnt a great deal about religious leaders like Mohandas Gandhi. In the summer of 1952, as part of his ministerial education, Young was assigned to preach to the community of Marion Alabama. This is where he met with Jean Childs, whom he courted briefly and married in 1954. He received his bachelor of divinity degree in 1955 from the Hartford Theological Seminary.
Young accepted to be pastor in Bethany Congregation Church, Thomasville, Georgia in 1955, where he began preaching religion throughout Georgia visiting the poor in their rural communities. Rights Activism and SCLC Black Georgians were effectively denied the vote, segregated in most areas of daily life and were subjected to discrimination and violence. This forced Young to confront the issue of voting since Blacks in the south were not allowed to vote. He spearheaded his campaign with the slogan ? we are as we dare to be? Young 1996).
Young decided to settle in Atlanta Georgia with Jean and their three daughters. He joined the National Council of Churches and became the first director of the Voter Registration Project. He also joined South Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC); a church centered, Atlanta based civil rights organization led by Martin Luther King Jr. he worked with King? s staff including civil rights leader Ralph Abernathy. Young became a strong leader, organizing marches and planning demonstrations, alongside Martin Luther King Jr. e assisted in the organization of ? Citizenship schools for the SCLC, which were workshops that taught non-violent organizing strategies to local people. Young was named executive director in 1964. He showed his exemplary skills as a key strategist and negotiator during the civil rights campaigns in Birmingham, 1963, ST. Augustine, 1964 and Selma, 1966.
These campaigns resulted in the passage of civil rights and voting acts which he helped draft (The Civil rights act of 1964 and the Voting Rights act of 1965). Andrew Young? activities in the voting registration of blacks increased the number of black voters in the Atlanta district to almost 40%. Thousands of African American candidates were elected to higher office in the following decades, including him and politicians such as Mayor Sam Massell and future Mayor Maynard Jackson came to rely upon. Young was with Martin Luther King Jr. at the time of his assassination in Memphis. Tennessee on April 4, 1968. After King? s assassination, he was made executive vice president of the SCLC where he began the Poor People campaign whose goal was to help the poor.
Service In Congress Young saw that venturing into politics would give him more leverage in his quest to make a difference. He ran for congress as a Democrat for Georgia and lost. Not discouraged, he ran again in 1972 and this time round, he won, becoming the first black representative from Georgia since Long? s election, a century earlier. Young and Barbara Jordan were the first two blacks from the south, since Reconstruction to be in congress. While in Congress, he became a member of the Congressional Black Caucus which was an organization representing the black members of the United States Congress.
Young improved public education and the social infrastructure in his district when he served in the committee on banking and currency and its sub-committee in housing, transportation and finance. One of his early initiatives was the urban mass transit systems such as MARTA in Atlanta. In July 1973, Young and some southern republicans successfully lobbied for a foreign bill provision that authorized the president to cancel aid that Portugal would use for military action in its African colonies. Young rejected cuts in domestic spending for the poor while supporting an increase in wages for workers in the public sector.
He was reelected again for two more terms as a result of his fight for the rights of Black Americans and other minorities during his first term. In the 94th congress (1975-1977) he became the first black representative appointed to the House Committee on Rules. Young sought ways of improving the lives of his constituents by sponsoring bills that outlined comprehensive health care plans and testified on behalf of the bills that preserved food stamp programs and economic development in his districts. Ambassador To The United Nations
During his third term in office, the president of the United states, Jimmy Carter asked Young to be America? s ambassador to the United Nations, a post which he accepted becoming the first African American to serve in that capacity. Whilst in office, Young helped transform America ? s foreign policy, making human rights a central focus and pushing for economic development in the third world, especially Africa. He called for sanctions against the apartheid regime in South Africa, fought for U. S. Recognition of communist Vietnam.
Young was also involved in several debates regarding foreign relations, including the decision to stop supporting the attempts made by the Portuguese to hold on to colonies in Southern Africa. This was a clear demonstration of young? s role as Carter? s point-man in foreign policy in Asia and Africa. He actively played the role of articulating Carter? s position on human rights and liberal capitalism in Rhodesia, South Africa and Angola. Andrew Young resigned from his ambassadorship post due to mounting criticism of his meeting with an observer of for the Palestine Liberation Organization.
Young As Mayor Of Atlanta In 1981 Young ran for Mayor of Atlanta. He was elected later that year with 55% of the vote. He succeeded Maynard Jackson. As Mayor of Atlanta, he brought billions of dollars worth of new private investment. The mayor? s Task Force on Education established Dream Jamboree College Fair that tripled college scholarships given to Atlanta public school graduates. Young was reelected mayor in 1985 with more than 80% of the vote. He expanded programs for including minority owned businesses in city contracts. It? during his tenure, that Atlanta hosted the 1988 democratic National Convention.
As the co-chair of the Atlanta Committee for 1969 Olympic Games, he led the efforts of Atlanta bidding to host that summers’ Olympic Games which it won. Works In 1996 he wrote A Way Out Of No Way: The Spiritual Memoirs of Andrew Young, Published by Thomas Nelson. During the same year, Young and Carlton Masters co-founded Goodworks International, a consulting firm that offers international market access and political risk analysis in key emerging markets within Africa and the Caribbean. Awards
Andrew Young has received numerous awards and honors including the presidential Medal Of Freedom, the NAACP Spingarn medal in 1978 and more than 45 honorary degrees from Dartmouth, Yale, Notre Dame, Clark Atlanta, Emory and The University of Georgia in 1993. Morehouse College, Atlanta, established the center for international studies which was later named Young center for international studies.
Andrew Young is currently a professor at Georgia state University? s Andrew Young school of Policy Studies. His importance cannot be understated as he, evidently, was one of America? great leaders of the Civil Rights Movement. He strongly felt the need to address the plight of Black Americans and Championed for rights among all Americans, irrespective of race or color. His preferred addressing problems peacefully love and not hate or violence. The economic contribution he made was immense, Georgia but also outside the United States.