Andrew Young

Andrew Young has given back to his community and culture as a politician, human rights activist, and businessman. Young has served as Mayor of Atlanta, a Congressman from the 5th district, and United States Ambassador to the United Nations. He served as President of the National Council of Churches USA, was a member of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) during the 1960s Civil Rights Movement, A close a supporter and friend of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Andrew Young fought for voting rights of African Americans throughout the South.

Andrew Jackson Young was born March 12, 1932 in New Orleans Louisiana. The son of a dentist and a schoolteacher, Andrew Young had one brother. His childhood in a prosperous middle class family was easier than many of his peers. Of his good fortune, Andrew's father had a clear message, "from those to whom much has been given, much will be required." At a young age Andrew's father hired someone to give both the sons boxing lesson, so that they would be able to protect themselves. The lesson Andrew Young took from boxing was that violence was not the answer.

Andrew Young graduated from Howard University in Washington, D.C., in 1951 with a bachelor of science degree in biology. He then earned a divinity degree from Hartford Theological Seminary in Connecticut and accepted the pastorate of Bethany Congregational Church in Thomasville, Georgia, in 1955.

Young left his position as pastor in 1961 to work with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), the church-centered, Atlanta-based civil rights organization led by Dr. King. Like King, Andrew Young began to study the writings of Mohandas Gandhi, becoming interested in Gandhi's concept of non-violent resistance as a tactic for social change. Andrew Young became more and more involved in civil rights and encouraged African-Americans to register to vote in Alabama, despite facing death threats while doing so.

Andrew Young worked his way up to executive directorship of the SCLC, and work closely with Martin Luther King on many of the marches during the early 1960's. In fact he was there when Dr. King was assassinated.

In 1977, President Jimmy Carter appointed Andrew Young to serve as Ambassador to the UN, the first African-American to serve in the position. While Ambassador he worked to transform the basis of American foreign policy, making human rights a central focus and arguing that economic development in the Third World, particularly in Africa, was in the best interest of the United States. Young was among the first to call for sanctions against the apartheid regime in South Africa. In what was later called the "Andrew Young Affair",

Click on the links below for detailed information and photos on the Civil Rights leaders in Black history in the United States

The begining - Early Activists

After the Civil War blacks suffered greatly in the South. African Americans became targets for enraged white southerners. Lynchings killed hundreds of blacks every year.

Alabama Leaders

In the spring of 1963 civil rights leaders turned to Birmingham Alabama, calling it the most segregated city in America.

Journalists & Authors

"The civil rights movement would have been like a bird without wings if it hadn't been for the news media," said Rep. John Lewis.

Islam Leaders

The Nation of Islam is an African-American religious movement founded in Detroit, Michigan, by Wallace D. Fard Muhammad in July 1930.

Mississippi Leaders

Only 37 years old, Mississippi civil rights leader Medgar Evers was gunned down outside his home in Jackson on June 12, 1963.

Lawyers & Polticians

Living in large inner cities allowed African Americans to be part of a large extended culture. It also gave them a large voting block when they were finally able to vote without harassment.


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Civil Rights Activists

These men and women risked and sometimes lost their life to fight for the cause. Read more


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