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Interview with Andrew Young, October 31, 2012

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:00:54 - Decision to become a minister / Time in Thomasville

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Partial Transcript: You were born in New Orleans during the Depression.

Segment Synopsis: Young explains what spurred him to become a preacher instead of studying dentistry, and why he integrated civil rights into his preaching. Young also talks about an incident when he was working as a pastor in Thomasville, Georgia, where he had to face off against the Ku Klux Klan during a voter registration drive.

Keywords: Beachton, Georgia; Columbus, Georgia; John Wesley Dobbs; Thomasville, Georgia; William B. Hartsfield; business community; medicine; negotiation; plantations; psychology; seminary; spiritual problems

00:10:56 - Healthcare and race

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Partial Transcript: I also remember down there that we had a very good hospital.

Segment Synopsis: Young compares the access to healthcare he had at Archibald Memorial Hospital in Thomasville to that which his son is able to receive today. He then details his childhood experiences of dealing with racial disparities.

Keywords: Boy Scouts; Franklin Roosevelt; Great Depression; Hill-Burton hospitals; Jesse Owens; Nazi Party; New Orleans, Louisiana; YMCA; fighting; track running; white supremacy

00:18:20 - College education and church conferences

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Partial Transcript: Off to college at Howard.

Segment Synopsis: Young discusses how his time at Howard University, while enjoyable, left something to be desired from him. He then describes how attending church conferences helped him find that fulfillment.

Keywords: Christianity; Dillard University; Kings Mountain, North Carolina; Lake Brownwood, Texas; University of Southern California; interracial conference; missionaries; swimming team; track team

00:25:01 - Attending seminary in Hartford

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Partial Transcript: They assigned me to Hartford, Connecticut.

Segment Synopsis: Young remembers his experience learning at the Hartford Seminary Foundation, including his favorite classes and how he covered his cost of attendance.

Keywords: defense bonds; mutual fund

00:29:14 - Preaching in Marion, Alabama

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Partial Transcript: Your first call was to Marion, Alabama.

Segment Synopsis: Young explains why he chose to go to Marion, Alabama for his first job as a preacher, despite his initial reluctance. He then tells of how he came to meet his future wife, Jean Childs, and the influence the town had on his nonviolent stance in civil rights.

Keywords: 1952 Olympic Games; Coretta Scott King; Mohandas Gandhi; New York City, New York.Pioneer Track Club; interracial church; janitor; washing dishes

00:36:55 - Living in New York / Look Up and Live TV program

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Partial Transcript: Well, after Thomasville, you took your family to New York.

Segment Synopsis: Young relays his experiences living in New York City and compares it to his time in the South. Young then describes his television series, Look Up and Live, in which he mainly explained struggles in life, including racial issues, to children with a religious overtone.

Keywords: 23rd Street, New York City; CBS; Diane Nash; Harlem, New York; James Bevel; John Lewis; Little Rock, Arkansas; Martin Luther King; National Council of Churches; Queens College; Queens, New York; hostility; segregation; youth work

00:45:48 - Moving back south and meeting Martin Luther King

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Partial Transcript: And I ended up coming back to Atlanta and working with Martin Luther King.

Segment Synopsis: Young elaborates on his choice to move back to the south, and how he ended up working with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). He then talks about getting to know Dr. King, first by answering King's mail for him, then by using his experiences to help King research and travel.

Keywords: Berlin, Germany; Highlander Folk School; Savannah, Georgia; Talladega College

00:52:38 - Role within SCLC

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Partial Transcript: Did you have a title with SCLC?

Segment Synopsis: Young details his role within the SCLC, including recruiting community leaders to aid in the civil rights movement. He then discusses how the SCLC and Dr. King became involved with various civil rights demonstrations, such as those in Montgomery, Alabama and Albany, Georgia.

Keywords: Birmingham, Alabama; Chattanooga, Tennessee; Dorchester, Georgia; Dorothy Cotton; Jackson, Mississippi; Montgomery Bus Boycott; Rosa Parks; Septima Poinsette Clark; St. Augustine, Florida; citizen education

00:59:39 - Educating youth and desegregating business

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Partial Transcript: Julian Bond once said this to the New York Times.

Segment Synopsis: Young details the tactics the SCLC employed to educate the youth about nonviolence, including showing videos about nonviolent leaders like Gandhi as well as footage of the Nashville sit-ins. He then explains the steps the SCLC took to desegregate businesses in Birmingham, Alabama.

Keywords: David Halberstam; Fred Shuttlesworth; Ralph Abernathy; Vietnam War; boycotts; lunch counters

01:07:18 - Assassination of Dr. King / Service in Congress

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Partial Transcript: You didn't want Dr. King to go to Memphis, did you?

Segment Synopsis: Young talks about why Dr. King wanted to go to Memphis, and he reflects the effect that that King's assassination had on the civil rights movement. Young then tells of his political career after the civil rights movement, including his brief service as a U.S. Congressman and as a United Nations ambassador.

Keywords: Jimmy Carter; Julian Bond; Memphis, Tennessee; Operation Breadbasket; Rhodesia; Robert Kennedy; South Africa; community relationscommission; democracy; free enterprise; human rights; poverty; racism; war