Partial Transcript: Uh, you're a Cedartown, Georgia boy.
Segment Synopsis: Young describes his family history in Cedartown and his childhood there. He recalls his ambition to play football in college, his mentor, Coach Doc Ayers, and getting injured while playing football for Darlington. He discusses enrolling at UGA in 1962 and joining the Kappa Alpha fraternity.
Keywords: Cedartown, Ga.; Darlington School; Howard "Doc" Ayers; Kappa Alpha fraternity; Shorter College; UGA; University of Georgia; William Tate
Partial Transcript: Where'd you eat?
Segment Synopsis: Young remembers social aspects of UGA, including barbecue-eating contests, bringing a car to campus, the girls' curfew, dressing up for class, and an incident that put Kappa Alpha on probation. He recalls deciding to major in business after working at The Valdosta Daily Times in the summer, getting a job at Lockheed after graduating, and ultimately working at the The Valdosta Daily Times.
Keywords: J. Carlisle Overstreet; Kappa Alpha fraternity; Lockheed Corporation; Lockheed Martin; The Valdosta Daily Times; UGA; University of Georgia; William Tate
Partial Transcript: The early '60s were certainly a turbulent time in--in our country, and the issues of the times certainly impacted us at the University.
Segment Synopsis: Young remembers perceiving no racial tension while enrolled at UGA but recalls integration becoming an issue in Valdosta while he worked at The Valdosta Daily Times. He discusses the Vietnam War creating news while he was at UGA and remembers being in an English class when he learned that John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963. Young reflects on racial tension in Georgia and sees Georgia's economic advancement over other southern states as a product of its racial progressiveness. He talks about fraternity control of campus politics and recalls when Buddy Darden, an independent, won election for student body president.
Keywords: Charlayne Hunter-Gault; Ernest Vandiver; George Washington "Buddy" Darden III; Hamilton Holmes; John F. Kennedy; The Valdosta Daily Times; UGA; University of Georgia; Vietnam War; racism; segregation
Partial Transcript: Talk a little bit about big events on campus, when--when the whole campus came together.
Segment Synopsis: Young remembers football games and UGA's rivalry with Auburn. He describes Kappa Alpha training men to become gentlemen-scholars like Confederate General Robert E. Lee and attending the Kappa Alpha "Old South" ball.
Keywords: Auburn University; Confederacy; Kappa Alpha fraternity; Old South ball; Robert E. Lee; UGA; University of Georgia; college football
Partial Transcript: Homecoming -- I know you had some big entertainers show up.
Segment Synopsis: Young describes homecoming at UGA and shares several anecdotes of when fraternity boys at UGA created mischief including smuggling whiskey from South Carolina, stealing a bus, burning a piano, and raising a duck in a fraternity house.
Keywords: Chi Phi fraternity; Kappa Alpha fraternity; Saxby Chambliss; Sigma Chi fraternity; UGA; University of Georgia; homecoming
Partial Transcript: Neely, anything else that you think about -- about your days at the University before I move on a little bit into later times?
Segment Synopsis: Young recalls getting seven job offers after graduating from UGA in 1966. He discusses his move to The Valdosta Daily Times, the newspaper's sale to Thomson Newspapers, and the integration of the Valdosta High School football team in 1967.
Keywords: Lockheed Corporation; The Valdosta Daily Times; Thomson Newspapers; Valdosta High School; Wright Bazemore
Partial Transcript: Alright, from Valdosta you went to Dalton, is that right?
Segment Synopsis: Young discusses his career as an editor and publisher of the Dalton Daily Citizen, the Marietta Daily Journal, and the Cherokee Tribune in Canton. He reflects on the technological changes in print journalism and the advent of online news sources.
Keywords: Cherokee Tribune (newspaper); Dalton Daily Citizen (newspaper); Marietta Daily Journal (newspaper); print journalism
Partial Transcript: Continue -- let's continue talking about where you went.
Segment Synopsis: Young talks about working as the CEO of the Morris Newspaper Company for two years and buying newspapers across Georgia. He recalls selling the newspapers after nine years, retiring for one year in 1998, and buying Georgia Trend magazine from Millard Grimes. He discusses his accolades, particularly raising $35 million for the Salvation Army.
Keywords: Charles Morris; Community Newspaper Holdings; Georgia Trend (magazine); Millard Grimes; Morris Newspaper Company; Salvation Army; Tom Cousins
Partial Transcript: Talk about your family a little bit.
Segment Synopsis: Young describes his family, particularly his wife Kathy's career as head of volunteers in hospitals and her volunteer work. He reflects on Georgia's relationship with immigrants, viewing the state's construction boom (1980s-2008) as made possible by immigrant labor, but notes an under-appreciation of their contribution. He considers Georgia House Bill 87, the "Georgia Illegal Immigration Reform and Enforcement Act of 2011," problematic and expresses a desire for Georgia to reflect the same sense of racial progressiveness that it had in the past.
Keywords: Georgia House Bill 87; illegal immigration
FRAN LANE: This is a Goin Back: Remembering UGA interview with UGAalumnus and editor publisher of Georgia Trend magazine, Neely Young. Today is November 14, 2013. We are in the conference room of the Wray Nicholson House on the University of Georgia campus. Others with us include Alice Vernon, and videographer, Bill Evelyn, members of the Goin Back crew and Im Fran Lane. Welcome, Neely.
NEELY YOUNG: Thank you. Thank you very much.
LANE: We are very glad to have the chance to visit with you today and letsstart at the beginning. You are a Cedartown, Georgia boy.
YOUNG: Grew up in Cedartown, born and raised there. My family settled the town,the area down in 1833 after the Cherokee land lottery. A little community called Young Station, which is south of Cedartown, and moved to town in 1908. My grandfather was president of the bank and had a pretty good size farm. They 00:01:00didnt call them plantations, but he had about a 4,000 acre farm south of Cedartown. Back in those days you did a little bit of everything. He had some real estate, and he had the John Deere dealership, and so I had a very good history of tradition in Cedartown.
LANE: I was going to ask you what life was like for a boy growing up in smalltown Georgia in the late 40s, early 50s.
YOUNG: Oh, it was wonderful. We would have everything--we lived on VictoriaAvenue and two blocks to the west of us was Peeks Park. It had a swimming pool and tennis courts, clay, the old clay tennis courts. During the summers, Id get on my bicycle and ride down, thats where I stayed all summer, playing tennis and swimming. And then the elementary school and middle school and high school were two blocks the other way. And so, Cedartown High School was just two blocks from the other house. Back in those days when you were 14 00:02:00or 15, youd ride your bicycles everywhere. Nobody cared, you know you couldnt do that today anywhere, but youd ride up to Main Street and West Theatre was right there. For twenty-five cents, you could go to the movie and Moores Corner was right there on the corner. I was telling you a little bit about the ancestors; we had a huge number of people who were Youngs, so there used to be a joke. You could stand on Moores Corner in Cedartown and throw a rock and youd hit a relative of mine, so I couldnt get in trouble too much because all my relatives were school teachers, and if I did anything wrong, itd get right back to my mother and father right away.
LANE: Your mama knew before you got home.
YOUNG: [laughs] Thats true! A great tradition there, football was a real bigthing in Cedartown, and on that questionnaire it said who influenced your life. Most of the time, you know, your mother and father are your main influences, but a lot of the times, its people in the school system and a big influence on my life was Coach Doc Ayers. I played for Doc and he was the coach at Cedartown 00:03:00High School; a great character, a great motivator. He could make you believe that you could do anything. I think thats what inspired me, I guess, to go on and do some other things. It was the confidence he would give to you. He was a great character. One story, a player told after I was in school, Doc, he would get you fired up during the half-time, especially if you were behind, and he went into the locker room where the kids were all in the gym during the half-time and we were getting beat, and everybody was kind of down and he brought out these roses. He said, You see these roses? By gosh, they sent them to me this morning and my wife opened them up and it said, Jones High School: We are going to bury you! Boy, he was so mad, and they all charged out and won the game. And someone said they had seen Doc that afternoon going into the flower shop and coming out with the roses. [laughs] But he 00:04:00certainly could motivate you!
LANE: A real motivator! Well now, Neely, you went to Darlington.
YOUNG: Right, I went up there--
LANE: In Rome--
YOUNG: --in Rome, Georgia, hoping I could play football, go off and play forAuburn or somewhere. That was my main motivation to go up there. Not to study, of course. [laughs] I got hurt up there, I had my shoulder knocked out of joint and everything, so that kind of ruined my football career, but I did love to play football. Darlington is a great school and Im still associated with them and Ive given some talks to students over there in the past.
LANE: Doing some motivating yourself.
YOUNG: [laughs] I was trying to.
LANE: But you finished at Cedartown, right?
YOUNG: Finished at Cedartown High School, thats right. And then I went toShorter for a short time and then came over to the University of Georgia.
LANE: You got here in the fall of 62, does that sound right? YOUNG: I thinkthats right, yes.
LANE: What did the campus look like when you got here in 1962? What physical00:05:00aspects of the campus stand out?
YOUNG: Well, Lumpkin Street was huge, and there was--the Georgian Hotel waswhere I roomed. I didnt know anybody when I came over here. Most everybody from Cedartown being close to the Alabama line went to Auburn or went over there, so I stayed in a hotel room and had some guys from Columbus, Georgia were there. Bill Huff and some other guys, and they were rooming right down from me and I got to be buddies with them. I remember Lumpkin Street so much because that was where all the fraternities were, so I was rushed by several of the fraternities, SAE and Chi Phi. Chi Phis a big Rome town, and had some great friends from Cedartown and Rome. I was kind of seduced by the Robert E. Lee crowd, you know--
LANE: Kappa Alpha.
YOUNG: Kappa Alpha. [laughs] They had a big cheer: How many Yankees werethey? Ten thousand! How many Rebs? Three! What are we gonna do? Charge! 00:06:00
LANE: [laughs] Hadnt heard that one!
YOUNG: So the guys that were from Columbus were KAs and thats what I woundup joining, was Kappa Alpha. Its a great fraternity, still is now. But its not here anymore, course theyve torn down most of those on Lumpkin Street, like most of the fraternities--and theyve moved over. Ive helped them with that endeavor a little bit.
LANE: Did you live at the Georgian Hotel the whole time, move to the fraternity house?
YOUNG: Just that quarter, and then I moved into the fraternity house. I stayedthere a lot, and just different places around.
LANE: That was an experience, Im sure.
YOUNG: Fond memory is Dean Tate, of course, everybody loves Dean Tate, and I gotinto some trouble. We went to summer school and got into a little trouble off campus by some of my fraternity brothers, had a party. Tick Atkinson, my roommate from Newnan, Georgia and I--we went home that weekend, but we came back 00:07:00and my brothers got in a little bit of trouble, so had to go before Dean Tate. We were just still, you know, first year over here, green as grass. He quizzed us about what were we doing with these boys, these rowdy boys, and we didnt know anything. We werent even there, you know, so he put us in Reed Hall. He said, Well, you boys are going to move in to Reed Hall. But he was good to us. I just remember him being such a kind person.
LANE: Im sure--
YOUNG: He kind of saw we were not trouble makers, so that was our punishment.We had to move to Reed Hall for the rest of the summer. And it was hot! [laughs]
LANE: And I bet, Neely, he knew who you were, every time he saw you.
YOUNG: Oh, yes! Yes, oh gosh, yes! He remembered your name and everything.How are you, Mr. Young? he would say.
LANE: Where did you eat?
YOUNG: Well, we ate in the fraternity house and we had, you know, breakfast,lunch and dinner at the fraternity house.
LANE: Great cooks!
YOUNG: Real good cooks and ran around with some of the football players and00:08:00wed go out and once a week we would have a barbeque eating contest, who could eat the most barbeque. So we had all of these great barbeque restaurants around Athens, so we would go to a barbecue restaurant and order, especially if it was all you could eat for like, three dollars, and I had this roommate, Buddy Colean, little ole bitty guy, and he could out eat anybody, and we had these big ole beefy guys, you know, on the football team, and he would always win. Hed eat three and four plates of barbecue. [laughs]
LANE: I guess Posss saw yall a good bit, right?
YOUNG: Posss saw us a lot! Thats right.
LANE: How did you get around?
YOUNG: Well, we walked and then I had a car my last two years, and we would,just walk around. Everything was pretty close. I remember the girls are so different today, you know, we would go to the football games in coat and tie, and the girls would all dress up real nice and everything, and then if they wore shorts, they had to wear a raincoat around them, to walk to gym and stuff like 00:09:00that, and then you had to have the girls in during the week at ten oclock, it was hell to pay--
LANE: Signing in and signing out!
YOUNG: Thats right! You had to sign in and sign out. They didnt trust usfellows very much.
LANE: Well, I tell you, times have changed, havent they! YOUNG: Rightly so!They didnt trust us!
LANE: How did you look? You know, its funny, I dont ask everybody that,but it dawned on me the other day as I was looking through some old material that folks who were here in the late sixties looked a lot different from the way folks looked in the early sixties.
YOUNG: Oh, yeah, we were--I was here, I have not changed my dress, Fran. Lookat this. Ive got a button down--we used to have gant shirts, blue sport coat, striped tie, Georgia tie, khaki pants. I dont have weejuns on, but Ive got something similar.
LANE: I vote for you! YOUNG: [laughs] Thats the way we dressed, and crewcuts--just about everybody had a crew cut, a buzz.
LANE: A clean cut. YOUNG: --and a clean cut. You know, we missed the mini-skirts and all of this. [laughs] 00:10:00
LANE: You majored in business.
YOUNG: Right, I was telling you a little earlier, my family owned the ValdostaDaily Times. That was on my mothers side, and Id go down there in the summers and--the hardest darn work in the world, and boy, I was in photography mainly, but I was also a printers devil and wed be back there, and the pay was $35 a week. So I said, Im not going to be able to do this! So I got into the business school, and got an economics general business degree, and when I graduated, I got a job at Lockheed Aircraft in engineering. The business school prepared me well and I was the only business school graduate. Everybody else there was from Tech and from Auburn and Clemson--
LANE: The engineers--
YOUNG: --the engineers, so I was able to pass all the exams theyve gotreally, I guess, because my training I got from the business school. I was 00:11:00there about nine months, and we were making $200 a week, which in 1966 was a lot of money.
LANE: Big bucks!
YOUNG: --so I went back down to Valdosta and they wanted me to come back downthere and be in the family. They said this is a family business, we need you to come back down, so they didnt know what I was making, and they told me, Well, were going to stretch this out. We are going to pay you $50 a week! I said, Fifty dollars a week? Im making $200 a week! Well, they didnt believe me. Two hundred a week?! [laughs] So, I went back, I said, I just cant leave. I admit, my wife was there and when I first started at Lockheed as a summer hire and Kathy, she was over here in Athens, so I was living and working in Lockheed in Marietta and coming over here and dating her--and they called me back down in Valdosta and said, Well match your salary. So that sounded pretty good. Lockheed at the time had 33,000 employees and I just saw myself being in an anthill, and I said, I dont know 00:12:00whether I want to do this the rest of my life. I wanted to work somewhere where you could make an impact, and in smaller companies, you can make a bigger impact. So I went back down there, and Kathy and I became engaged and she came down with me to Valdosta and she finished at Valdosta State College, so I robbed the cradle. Shes four years younger than I am, weve been married for 37 years of marriage. [laughs]
LANE: Just a baby.
YOUNG: --it turned out OK.
LANE: Memorable faculty or staff when you were here? You mentioned Dean Tate.
YOUNG: Dean Tate, and I remember so much he taught me. He taught me a class,and I had, you know, I cant remember a lot of my teachers. One was an English teacher, and I have horrible handwriting. I was in the Business School, but you would have to go through and take English course. Nobody could read my writing. I wished we had computers, I still have got horrible handwriting. But 00:13:00he would take my papers and read them in class, so I must have had a little bit of talent. I dont know--but I would get a C, because my handwriting and everything was so bad. [laughs]
LANE: That hardly sounds fair. He liked what you wrote, but-- YOUNG: I know it!Thats true!
LANE: Youre right, Dean Tate was in English. Thats where he started, inthe English department, I think. What about campus characters, Neely? Were there some folks that just--?
YOUNG: You know, we had some real characters in the fraternity, thats for sure.
LANE: Some you cant tell about, Im sure! Thats alright!
YOUNG: Thats right! [laughs] We had this fellow, wed have our Old SouthBall, I guess he wont mind me telling this, but Carlisle Overstreet, hes from Augusta, and I dont know if he had flunked out, but he wasnt in school, and so, Dean Tates assistant came over to our house right before and he was getting on to us. We were being too loud or something, so this fellow 00:14:00just chewed him out. He said, You dont need to come over here. Were going to be--so and so. He said, Well, Im putting you all on probation. It sounds like Animal House, but we werent quite that bad. So we got on probation and didnt get to have Old South, so I still have the mug, and thats Judge Carlisle Overstreet over in Augusta now. [laughs] He came back to Georgia and has a distinguished career! He was a character, and we had a fellow, P.B. Patterson, gosh knows where he is. He was in school over here for like, twenty years. He was like, in his thirties, and he was in the KA House with us.
LANE: Every group had one of those, didnt they? At least one! Justcouldnt get away.
YOUNG: Bat Vat Varnadoe, Gordon Varnadoe, was Batman. He walked around in abatman outfit, and he was older. He had changed, hes in Savannah and he still wears his Batman outfit. We all thought he was the greatest, coolest guy, that ever was. So we had some great characters. 00:15:00
LANE: I want to talk a little bit about extra-curricular and social life in aminute, but the early sixties were certainly a turbulent time in our country, and the issues of the times certainly impacted us at the University. Of course, Charlayne Hunter-Gault and Hamilton Holmes had integrated the University in the winter, in January of 1961, but I wondered, how did desegregation effect just normal student life? Was it something in your consciousness or was it just sort of halls of ivy and it just didnt--?
YOUNG: I would say my parents were very liberal on race. Cedartown, northGeorgia didnt have a lot of African American issues. It didnt have very many people in the mountains, you know, didnt even want to go to war back in 1860. So when I was here, we didnt see them very much. It wasnt an 00:16:00issue. They had come like, two years before or maybe the year before I got to Georgia. Everybody accepted it. Now, there was a big political race. Goldwater was a big hero for everybody and I was a Lyndon Johnson man. Me and about three other KAs out of the 130 members we had. I dont think we have too many more members in KA than we had back then. We had a big chapter, so we had a lot of political debates, but not about race so much. People were excepting of race. I dont remember that being an issue. When I went to work at the Valdosta Times, it was down there, and my cousin, Timmy Griffin was the editor when I went down there and we had a lot of stories about the racial affects what was integraton in Valdosta, but I dont think it was too big a thing. It was more Goldwater against Johnson and going to war. Vietnam had just started, it was a blip on the radar, but we had Mike Calhoun, was shot down 00:17:00over there. That was kind of a big shock, we hadnt even heard about Vietnam. Kennedy was president, and the biggest thing that happened to me in my life was Kennedy was shot, and I was in English class. The lady came in and said, Our presidents been shot. What a shock that was. It was on a Friday afternoon, if I remember. And we all came back to KA House and everybody was really mournful for that and watched it on television and I went home to Cedartown. Thats one of those things that you remember where you were, you know, I was in English class over here at the University of Georgia, right across from the Journalism School.
LANE: I think you are right. I think those of us who were of that era,everybody knows exactly where you were when you heard the news and what had happened. Now, the fiftieth year anniversary, we are seeing a lot that again. YOUNG: Its all on television. They were showing it last night. 00:18:00
LANE: Its hard to let it go. I read an article that said that the babyboomers cant let it go. YOUNG: Yeah.
LANE: It continues to have an effect, and I think part of that was that thepresident had such an effect on, for an example, I have a close friend who said that President Kennedy was the biggest influence in her life in terms of what direction she took, so--
YOUNG: Well, he was youthful and he was, you know, we had Eisenhower who waskind of an older man, what is usually what you think of when you think of the president. He had these wonderful ideas and ideals, you know, new frontier, went to the moon. He had all of these visions, and great civil rights leader in his own way, so all of that was going on, kind of, while he was there. One thing about Georgia that people dont remember when Charlayne and Hamilton came over here, in Alabama and Arkansas and Mississippi, the governors stood at 00:19:00the gates and said, You cant come in, and shut them down. It was a big, huge thing, where our governor at the time, he sent the state patrol over here to escort them to keep them safe. It was a big difference, and I think thats one reason that I remember us being excepting of the race issue over in Athens, and Georgia since that time has always been open and more so than Birmingham, where they had their guard dogs out, and we were trying to integrate the schools in a peaceful way which we did.
LANE: Weve had a chance to talk with Betty Russell Vandiver and it was quitean experience. Very--
YOUNG: Well, it took a lot of guts in what he did. He also--Martin Luther Kingwas thrown in the DeKalb County jail and Bobby Kennedy called up Governor Vandiver and said, Can you get him out of jail? He made a phone call to the judge, it was on a trumped up charge and they got Martin Luther King out of jail in DeKalb County. That wouldnt have happened over in Birmingham. 00:20:00
YOUNG: --or anywhere else in South Carolina, so thats a little known story,but Vandiver, maybe committed political suicide by doing that, but still he was one of the great Georgians because he ushered in the civil rights era, and look what happened to Georgia compared to Birmingham. Atlanta and Birmingham were the same size in the late 1950s. Now, Atlanta boomed and became an open city, and we have the Braves and the Falcons and Birmingham stayed behind.
YOUNG: Id say theres a big difference.
LANE: We were blessed with leadership, thats true. Lets go back and talka little bit about extra-curricular life, and certainly, Greek life at the time was very important, and we can talk a little bit more about that. Talk a little bit about campus politics. Do you remember how it worked?
YOUNG: Well, it was mainly controlled by the Greeks. You know, the Greek system00:21:00controlled everything and then--a real close friend of mine right now, Buddy Darden came over and he was a GDI, god damned Independent, thats what they called themselves and he ran for president and won. That was a big break up of the Greek system in Athens. I was just reading, over in Alabama they call it, over at the University of Alabama, they call it The Machine. Theyve had a lot a news, in the New York Times and everything--The Machine decided to run somebody for, against a black man from Tuscaloosa city councilman, and they put up a student, I think, and ran him and he won. [laughs] So theyve have a big controversy about that, whether the person that won really lived in Tuscaloosa, was just a student who lived outside. So, a lot college campuses in the south, the Greeks still control everything and Im not sure how it is today, but Buddy Darden kind of broke that and in a nice way. It wasnt a violent thing 00:22:00or way. I think it was softer times, you know, before the Vietnam War came on the scene and riots and things, when I was in school.
LANE: You got out just in time.
YOUNG: I did, thats right. [laughs]
LANE: Talk a little bit about big events on campus, when the whole campus cametogether--homecoming and those kind of things.
YOUNG: Oh, yeah! Football would be big, you know, and we had, our biggest rivalwas Auburn and not Tech. I was here during the Johnny Griffith era and everything was kind of dull. We kind of, you know, wed go to the football games--one season when I was here, we went 3-3 and 4 or something, you know. We tied three games, and we would for the tie instead of going for the two point conversion and everything, and so--I mean, they were so dull, so we would make, we would take the programs and make paper airplanes and throw them out, and 00:23:00youd see those going everywhere. [laughs]
LANE: Had to entertain yourself!
YOUNG: Thats right! And we had, I dont remember having the whiskey toomuch there, but it was there, you know, in the stands. You could pass a bottle up and down and have a drink if you wanted to.
LANE: Sneak it in.
YOUNG: You couldnt get whiskey too much. It was pretty hard to get, youknow, so we--
LANE: Talk about that. Does Arcade come to mind?
YOUNG: Arcade, yeah, that was a big run, you know, and you go up to SouthCarolina. Strangely enough, you know, we were pretty self-policing in the KA house. We didnt drink too much, you know. We had keg parties and things like that, but we had a house mother. Mrs. Dee, cant remember her last name. You know, we always stayed pretty straight. My fraternitys slogan is for God and Women, so we always put women on a pedestal. We really did. [laughs]
LANE: I had never heard that about the Kappa Alphas! That is good to know!00:24:00
YOUNG: [laughs] And we would have our Old South with Auburn. We would go toAtlanta, the ones that we werent on probation for, and not Tech. We didnt care much for Tech, but Emory and Auburn and Georgia KAs would have the Old South together, and when wed play Auburn, wed all hang out at the KA House in Auburn and theyd hang out with us. We had some real good friends there.
LANE: Describe Old South for somebody who maybe has never heard of it or knownabout how it--
YOUNG: We had classes in Robert E. Lees philosophy and, you know, he retiredto Washington and Lee University and they formed a KA chapter there. We were the Gamma chapter, we were pretty close in, and he was always the gentleman and a gentlemans scholar. We taught each other to stand up when ladies entered the room, say yes maam and no sir to the older people and Robert 00:25:00E. Lee didnt believe in slavery. We were taught that, and he was the main reason the North and the South got back together, as he said, Put down your arms. We are going to accept the end of slavery. One story is that when he was speaking to an older man in a ragged uniform up in Richmond, the Episcopal Church was there and the blacks always sat up in the back and the whites were in the front. The whites took communion down front and just gave the communion in the back, so there was a group in this church and this black man cae down and sat at the altar and took communion, and everybody went, Huh? and this older gentleman got up, white hair, and went down, sat with him and took communion with him, and that was Robert E. Lee. That made a big impression on 00:26:00me in my journalism career, too.
LANE: Very interesting. For Old South, you wore a Confederate uniform.
YOUNG: Oh, yeah. Wed wear a Confederate uniform and the dates would have thehoop skirts and we would go over and--we had a serenade. We didnt do the horses. I think theyve done some things differently. We didnt do the horses, but wed go down to the different sorority houses and serenade them, sing pretty poorly probably, [laughs] in our Confederate uniforms, and then we would have the Old South Ball, and we usually had it in Atlanta, and wed have these great bands. You know, the bands, Little Richard and all these people became famous, and they were just bands from North Carolina, you know. Sister Rose and the Cornelius Brothers, and wed have these fantastic bands. Have cocktail parties before and then probably take the dates in kind of late, and 00:27:00then go back to where we were staying in these motel hotels and party all night, and it was just a lot of fun.
LANE: Great times.
YOUNG: We would carry the Confederate flags around. I know we dont have theConfederate flags on the flag of pride as we used to, but back then, it wasnt considered--it was considered more of a parochial thing. We were the South and we fought against the Yankees, we werent fighting against slavery. Thats what we thought, and people probably disagree with that, but that was our fraternitys motto, is that we accepted slavery and Robert E. Lee did. Not slavery, but accepted the freedom of the slaves.
LANE: Homecoming. I know you had some big entertainers to show up. Do youremember who came?
YOUNG: Yeah, that would be--we watched all the old guys come in, you know, and00:28:00that was a lot of fun. One fellow named Wally Wallow would come in, he was a real character. He was from my home town, Cedartown, and he liked to get on the phone and call a hotel, at like at ten at night and say, I think you have some illicit activities going on in this hotel and Im offended. Im in Room 607 and Im calling the police! Hed get the manager of the hotel all upset. Were not having anything illicit going on here! Just go down to Room 607 and see!, you know, and hed come back and hed played all these tricks on people. That was one of many. [laughs] Wed sit around and watch him so he could put on a show. A lot, Bat Varnadoe, the one who I was talking about, Batman. Hed graduated about ten years before, but he would come in and be just one of us. We all loved that.
LANE: Did you all go in for all the float making or for the big ole things out00:29:00in the front yard? You had chicken wire--
YOUNG: Oh, yeah, we had chicken wire. We werent really big into that, but we had--
LANE: All the girls were, the sororities did the big chicken wire things andbulldogs and--
YOUNG: The girls did all that. I remember everybody dressing so much alike.You had the Gant shirts and madras shirts and madras coats and khaki pants and Weejuns and London Fog jackets. Youd go into our KA House and everybody would have a London Fog jacket, you know, that was--and I was so proud of my madras sport coat, and it had to be washed a little bit so that it faded and bled and everything. And, oh, I was up in Dalton ten years later, and my wife was, she had a yard sale and so I came out there and that madras coat was there and this lady was buying it, and I said, Wait a minute! I didnt want you to buy that coat! I said, What are you going to do with that? She 00:30:00said, Oh, Im a clown. Im going to wear it as a clown outfit! It hurt my feelings! [laughs]
LANE: Oh! That is a blow! We had referenced the fact that there may be somefavorite stories that probably better go untold. Are there any that weve missed out on that, your favorite UGA anecdotes that might--?
YOUNG: Oh my gosh! Just all of the old stories, just like you say, some of themI cant tell, I guess! [laughs]
YOUNG: Our senator, Saxby Chambliss, I didnt know him then, but this is sortof a typical thing is. I had a young lady interview him about four years ago. She said, I guess you were in the Beta Club, that you were in the top of your class, that you did all these extra-curricular activities-- He said, I didnt want to tell her I was running whiskey from South Carolina, because I was the social chairman of Sigma Chi. 00:31:00
LANE: Oh my! [laughs]
YOUNG: Destroy her illusions! But we didnt drink too heavy; I mean you know,I have lots of Chi Phi stories. One Chi Phi friend of mine stole a Greyhound bus over here, drove it in the snow through Atlanta, trying to get back to Rome to see his girlfriend.
LANE: Oh my goodness! I hadnt heard that one. Senator Talmadge was a ChiPhi, wasnt he? Wasnt Herman Talmadge a Chi Phi?
YOUNG: No, I dont think he was a Chi Phi. Carl Sanders was a Chi Phi backbefore our time.
LANE: A story about a piano being rolled down Lumpkin Street, is that an oldurban legend?
YOUNG: An alumni had given them a piano, and this was in the late mid-fifties,and they had all these guys that had come back from the Korean War, you know, and they were all over there. The guys started playing the piano and they got all drunk and they said, Lets have a bonfire! So they drug their grand piano out on the street out there and all the KAs and everybody came up there. They set it on fire and they were drinking beers and a leg would fall 00:32:00and everybody would cheer, you know! [laughs]
LANE: Golly! Where was Dean Tate?
YOUNG: He was probably watching! [laughs]
LANE: Oh, my!
YOUNG: I guess the KAs were kind of a staid bunch compared to the Chi Phis!
LANE: I was getting ready to say, in that neighborhood.
YOUNG: I did have this one friend--we had the top three floors and John Fowler,and he was up on the top floor and he had too much to drink and he fell all the way down--[laughs]
LANE: Oh my gosh!
YOUNG: He landed on a beer bottle and they had to take him to the hospitalbecause his rear end got all chopped up.
LANE: Weve heard about possums being put in peoples rooms and causingconsternation, and seems like to me I heard a couple stories about somebody letting some baby chicks out in the KA house. Does that sound familiar?
YOUNG: We had a duck, we brought a duck over there. Durwood, the duck--he was alittle biddy duck, and we raised that duck to be big. 00:33:00
LANE: Til he got grown.
YOUNG: Yeah, he went with us everywhere. He thought he was human. Hed cometo our parties, and hed be down, and the girls would go talk to Durwood.
LANE: [laughs] Those of you who are younger who are listening to this, takenote, here is the leadership of your country.
LANE: Neely, anything else that you think about, about your days at theUniversity before I move on a little bit into later times?
YOUNG: Well, just a lot of fun. I really didnt appreciate it, I wonder ifpeople really appreciate their college--you know, you dont really have any responsibilities except studying, which is, you know, is hard enough. I got out of the business school; I should have been in journalism, but I dont know. I didnt think about going back into journalism. The Lockheed job was a great job and I had--when I got out of school I had like six or seven job offers. 00:34:00Really good jobs, you know, so--
LANE: People would kill today for that.
YOUNG: Oh, I know, you dont have that today at all. I mean, I could havegone into working for--there was an insurance company who wanted to hire me; IBM was going to give me a job. IBM had a big office in Atlanta. I dont know what would have happened if Id gone to work for them, Id be moving everywhere. Kraft Foods, had sales jobs--everywhere I went, I got a job offer, you know, so Lockheed was the best job.
LANE: That was a great time in the country economically, wasnt it?
YOUNG: It was. We were building the C5A at Lockheed an that was the biggestreason. That was the reason they had 33,000 employees. All high paying positions.
LANE: Times have changed.
YOUNG: They have changed, yeah.
LANE: Youve talked a little bit already about your first job with Lockheed,then life after the University and what led you into journalism. It was a family business and they needed you. 00:35:00
YOUNG: Thats right.
LANE: At your high salary, what did you start as at the Valdosta Daily Times?
YOUNG: Well, they paid me the $200 a week, so I went on from there. They toldme, the business manager was going to retire. So I was going to get that job as business manager. The job they had, I started off in photography, and I did that, and worked in ads, and worked in the composing room some, and then they had a position open. We sold the company to Thompson Newspapers and I was ambitious, and Kathy and I had our first child. We were there five years during the Bazemore times. Ive always been very lucky in my career. Being around newspapers in good football towns.
LANE: Wright Bazemore.
YOUNG: Wright Bazemore.
LANE: Five million ballgames.
YOUNG: Thats right. Ill tell an integration story. Wright Bazemore00:36:00pretty much made Valdosta High School work when they integrated, and they had a player there named Lightning on the football team, the only black kid. We were playing Marietta for the state championship. I think this is 1967. This kind of broke the ice. He was one, they just had a few kids that were in the school and there was a lot tension. Ive got this real good friend who said, he sat next to me at that game, he said, Oh, I hate blacks, I hate blacks, I just cant believe hes on the team! I just cant believe it! I hate them! Well, that little boy, in the second half we were behind. And at 6 to nothing, he caught the kick-off and ran 98 yards for a touchdown and my friend said, Im taking him to dinner! [laughs]
LANE: Different days! Different days!
YOUNG: Back in those days, the Journal Constitution, it was a big deal, high00:37:00school football. They had it on the front of the sports page and the headline said, Lightning struck! [laughs] Valdosta won the game!
LANE: Seems like to me, I went to Athens High School, and it seems like to me weended up playing Valdosta just about every other year for the state championship.
YOUNG: Oh yeah, gosh, some of greatest high school football games ever! AndyJohnson was there, they played a tie. I was at that there at that game. That was a great football game.
LANE: It was hard to beat Valdosta, Ill tell you that. Alright, fromValdosta you went to Dalton, is that right?
LANE: Right, they had this company, Thompson Newspaper. They had an opening upthere, so I went up there and brought Kathy and we worked there for two years. Built a home, that was in the boom times. The carpet industry was just booming, so I had some good fraternity brothers up there. My KA has been a major blessing for me. Everywhere we moved in Georgia, we have run into fraternity 00:38:00brothers. This friend of mine, Jimmy Fordham, he was kind of a character himself, they had me on the front page as coming to the Daily Citizen News. He looked at that and told his wife, Rita, Gosh, thats Neely Young! He cant hold a job! [laughs]
LANE: A good friend!
YOUNG: Well, really he was! Hes my best friend! So, we wound up being realgood friends with them. And another friend, Maurice Sponcler and Betty Sponcler, and you want to get into my career a little bit. I left Dalton and went down to Marietta, Georgia. I got an offer to go to Chicago with this company to be a kind of area person up there, vice president job and be over the whole chain, and I didnt want to move to Chicago, so I turned them down. So, Otis Brumby, he was a fraternity brother from Marietta, and his family had the Marietta Daily Journal, so I left Dalton and went down to work for him and he 00:39:00bought the Cherokee Tribune up in Canton, Georgia. I got to go up there as my first editor/publishers job. My poor wife, I was dragging her all over the place. So we went up there to Canton and that was one of my great, great memories, was being up there, editor and publisher of a weekly newspaper, and you did everything. You worked 70 hours a week and you wrote the headlines and took classified ads during the city council meetings. Somebodyd hand you, one of the city councilmen would say, Heres a classified ad. I want to sell something, you know, and people would come in and want to have a prescription to the newspaper. [laughs] I took the pictures, I weighed it out, I watched it being produced, took up and put it into the racks and dealers, took it up to the post office--it was a great experience. We were up there, like four and a half years and the kids got on up there. Then I got a call to be publisher of The Daily Citizen News in Dalton to go back there by 00:40:00this company, so thats what I did. I went back up there, I stayed in Dalton about twelve years where I raised my family there. So, a lot of my real close friends, a lot of my close friends are still from Dalton, that we still see and everything.
LANE: Neely, you wrote a most informative editorial for Georgia Trend in June ofthis year entitled Alive and Well about the newspaper business. Talk to us a little bit about that, would you?
YOUNG: Well, with all the technology and everything thats happening,classifieds business went away from newspapers. It didnt hurt them. Newspapers are doing fine now. The ones that are doing the coverage, little league baseball, weddings, high school football teams, the social life, covering the city council--
LANE: Your local stuff.
YOUNG: Local stuff. Theyre doing fine. Theyre just not making the bigmoney they used to make. At one time, newspapers got where they were the only game in town, a monopoly, they could just print money. They certainly make a 00:41:00nice profit. Some of the newspapers got in trouble, some of the big chains borrowed a lot of money and the business went south. Thats where youve seen some of the bankruptcies and things, but thats because the cash flow went down, but the cash flow is still there. So, lots of weekly newspapers, the smaller dailies are being more and more successful. And the Journal Constitution in Atlanta, theyve become a local newspaper. Theyre not state-wide anymore. They cover 13 counties and theyve been able to do fine. And also, the internet is not as powerful as everybody thinks. Fifty percent of the country doesnt have high speed internet, and is not going to have high speed internet. Its too expensive to lay the cable, so its not as pervasive as people think. If you go up in the mountains, youre not going to get high speed internet. Especially if you go out west, but if you drive down to Savannah, you arent going to have it a good bit of the way going down 00:42:00there, so theres some limitations. And the business model on the web, its all free, so its hard to make money off of it. Youll see people trying to make money, but theres a lot of hype right now on websites like Facebook and some of them, and some of them dont really generate the income, because everythings free unless you want to see an ad on your iPad, your iPhone all time. People arent going to look at that. So, I think theres a lot of hype about it, so newspapers, the ones doing a good job are OK. Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffet has been buying up newspapers all over because he sees that. Its a good opportunity, so hes buying the middle size newspapers. The Tuscaloosa News, the smaller papers, the Dalton Citizen News. He owns a lot of them right now.
LANE: Thats good to know.
YOUNG: I think so.
LANE: Theres just something about sitting down in the morning with anewspaper in your hand and seeing whats going on. 00:43:00
YOUNG: Thats right!
LANE: --have to check the obituaries sometimes. My old age!
YOUNG: Make sure youre not in there? [laughs]
LANE: Thats exactly right! Lets continue talking about where you went.You were in Dalton--
YOUNG: Dalton, I was there, got the kid going into college and Charles Morristhat owns Morris Newspaper Corporation that publishes smaller dailies all over the country, he had 40 daily newspapers, flew up to Dalton and offered me the job to be his CEO and so I took that and moved down to Savannah with Kathy and Benjamin, my youngest son. My oldest son was here at the University. He graduated with a music degree, a performance degree. So we stayed in Savannah for two years and I ran the company. I didnt like that as much. I was in an airplane all the time, flying to Kansas and we had newspapers out in California and I was in the airplane an awful lot. Flying there, meet with the publishers, 00:44:00check on them and everything and then come back to Savannah, leave on Monday, come back on Friday, and I will just say, it was a boring job to me. I like to be where I can shuffle the paper and deal with people, assign stories, help write headlines, hands on. Thats what I enjoy. So, I left there and got in business with Tom Cousins and Jim Minter and we bought the Clayton News Daily, and we wound up having thirteen newspapers, a chain of newspapers, mostly between Macon and Atlanta. Elberton, Hartwell, Royston, Saint Marys, well it was the Kingsland Newspaper, that I sold to Dink NeSmith later. I did that for about nine years and sold it to CHNI out of Birmingham to Community Newspaper holdings and retired for a year. Thats in 1998. Millard Grimes, who lives 00:45:00here in Athens, owned the Georgia Trend, and I was getting kind of bored and I was 55 years old. I stayed on some boards and everything, so youd go around the table and somebody would say, Im Jim Lynch, Im president of Bank of America, somebody would say, Im so and so, and Id say, Well, Im Neely Young and I dont have a job! [laughs] So I felt like, really awkward. All my friends were still working, so this magazine came up, and I said, Ive never done magazines before. Im a newspaper man, but I took a chance and I got Tom Cousins to go in with this one, we went in together and bought Georgia Trend, and its been great. Ive had it fifteen years. Its a lot different. I thought, this is going to be easy. Ive been putting out daily newspapers every day, and once a month, its going to be easy. But its not easy! The stories are a lot more in-depth, and youve got to get it right, you cant make mistakes like you can make a mistake in 00:46:00the newspaper, retract it the next day, youve got to be real careful with a magazine, but its been a lot of fun.
LANE: And your sons gone into business with you. How fine!
YOUNG: Became a partner two years ago, and he and I are publishers. Tom Cousinsis kind of a silent partner, so were running it.
LANE: What fun! Working with your son, I think that would be wonderful!
YOUNG: It is wonderful. It is wonderful. He came over here for summer school,so hes a Georgia person. And I forgot to mention that my father came to Georgia in 1918.
LANE: Is that right?
YOUNG: Yeah. He was over here. And my sister was here in 58, 60,61--60 was when she left. She was a Chi O here.
LANE: So youve got roots! YOUNG: Deep roots!
LANE: Well, were proud! Neely, I have a list of accomplishments andaccolades here that goes for miles. You served as president of the Georgia 00:47:00Press Association, the Associated Press of Georgia, chair for the Georgia Press Educational Foundation, you served on the UGA Grady College of Journalism, UGA University Press, the board of the School of Urban Affairs at Georgia State. It goes on and on. You served as chairman of the Atlanta Regional Salvation Army, you served on boards throughout Regional Leadership Foundations Georgia Chamber of Commerce. It goes on and on.
YOUNG: I cant say no! [laughs]
LANE: How fine! How fine! You have certainly--
YOUNG: Well, the one Im most proud of is the Salvation Army work wevedone. You know, being involved with them. They are the greatest people in the world and have a real mission. We raised enough money--one of the things I headed up, was we raised $35 million to re-do all of the aging buildings and everything. It was kind of a miracle. The Salvation Army had never really 00:48:00raised more than about $8 million and so we hired a company to go and see what we really needed to do and they came back and said, Yall have got to really refurbish all these ancient buildings that yall have got. The plumbings bad, the roofs all need to be pitched. You need $25 million. We said, theres just no way. So we started out and we hired this Coxe Cunny, so the board raised $5 million, you know, we had a lot of heavy hitters on the board. Then Woodruff gave us $5 million, so this is, you know, you raise part of before you announce it, the silent time. So, this was our silent time and then another foundation gave us $5 million, Annie Casey Foundation. So, we had $15 million, and then--we got a lady who died that had us in her will. Thirty years ago she put us in her will, she was in her nineties, she died and she left 00:49:00us $10 million unrestricted! [laughs] So, Im sitting there going, Wait a minute! Weve raised the $25 million! It was like, in a month and a half!
LANE: In the silent stage you did it practically, didnt you?
YOUNG: So we took that and wound up raising $10 million--
YOUNG: --for the Foundation, so we took that, and it was the most that anySalvation Army unit had every raised, so I was real proud of that.
LANE: I guess so. I was going to ask you what you were most proud of in yourcareer. Talk about your family a little bit. I know youre proud of that.
YOUNG: Well, Ive got a wonderful wife, shes a dynamo. Shes just goneoff of being the chairman of the State Botanical Gardens here in Athens.
LANE: Is that right?
YOUNG: Shes just really a go-getter and shes into everything. Shes onthe board of Rinehardt College and shes big in our church. She had quite a distinguished career. When I was in Dalton being publisher, she was head of the 00:50:00volunteers for the hospital. When we moved to Savannah, shed been head of the volunteers. It was a paid job. But youve got to have a really vibrant personality and theyre always recruiting the Pink Ladies, they call them. She did that at Candler. Then when we moved up to Marietta and lived in the Atlanta area, she ran this foundation for Well Star at Kennestone Hospital, she started that and she raised a lot of money for that. Then they asked her to come to work for our church, the First Methodist Church in Marietta, so she was the administrator for our church, a 5,000 member church. Shes quite a lady. When we sold the newspapers, she retired and shes just been doing volunteer work. Somebody described her, This is Kathy Young. Shes the wings beneath Neelys sails, and I said, No, shes the hurricane beneath my sails! 00:51:00
YOUNG: And then my oldest son is in Memphis, hes followed his music career,got the degree from the University of Georgia. Hes a jazz musician over in Memphis and has done very well. Then my youngest son is married. I have a grandchild, of course thats the light of our lives.
LANE: The most important thing!
YOUNG: Most important! Thats right. Hes co-publisher with me and does alot of the editorial work, you know, and writes a column like I do. We go out and mingle with things--
LANE: So life is good!
YOUNG: Yeah, lots of good. Thats right.
LANE: Well, I know that you are proud of your family and were proud of you.Were proud that youre an alumnus of the University of Georgia.
YOUNG: Thank you. Thank you.
LANE: Is there anything else we need to talk about? At the bottom of thatoutline that your wonderful assistant, and she is wonderful, Gail. I said we 00:52:00can talk about anything we want to talk about. Is there something that comes to mind that we need to talk about that we need to expound on today?
YOUNG: Well, I think we are kind of at a crossroads in Georgia right now, thisis 2013, and its interesting to see where our state will go today. Weve stumbled, and Georgias been fortunate, itll be iteresting to see where our state goes. Itll be interesting when someone listens to this. Back in the 80s and 90s, we had a huge construction boom and it went up into the 90s before the recession hit. One of the reasons that we were so successful is because of immigration. We had people from Mexico, Canada and really all over the world, India--mostly poor people from Mexico that came across illegally. They were just--a lot of them came over on visas and stayed. They did the work that made us so prosperous. It made me be able to build my newspaper chain up. We used a lot of the Hispanics to deliver the newspapers 00:53:00and they still do work and theyre not appreciated in Georgia, and we passed this very draconian law about three years ago, House Bill 87, which really has comes down on immigrants and punished people that hire them. Weve had all kind of immigration problems and here we were such a welcoming state with race and we passed that law. So Im hoping Georgia will overturn that and Ive been writing editorials and columns making that point and a lot of stories to show how that is not a good place for us to be. We are not Alabama, we are not South Carolina back in the 1950s when racial tension was there, so Im hoping, Id like to see that someone, maybe ten or fifteen years from now, maybe come in, someone who sees this interview and see things will change and I think they will. God is good to us and God welcomes everyone and Georgia should 00:54:00welcome everyone. [END OF INTERVIEW]