Importance of Andrew Young to the American History of Service

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How Important Was Andrew Young To American History Service?

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



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´s 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. he 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´s 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...
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