- Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site
International Civil Rights: Walk of Fame
Andrew Young
Andrew Young
1932 - present

For almost half a century, Andrew Young has worked for the social, political and economic advancement of oppressed people around the world. He joined the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in 1961 as director of the organization's Citizenship Schools, joining veteran activist Septima Clark to teach literacy and leadership skills to rural southern black women and men. Young was an aide to Martin Luther King, Jr. and a thoughtful strategist for some of the most important protests, including the Birmingham campaign and March on Washington in 1963. Young served as executive director of SCLC (1964-1968). He helped draft the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. After the assassination of King, Young was named executive vice president of SCLC (1968-1970). He moved into the arena of politics as the first black Georgian elected to the U.S. Congress since Reconstruction (1972-1976). President Jimmy Carter appointed Young U.S. ambassador to the United Nations in 1977. With his help, protection of human rights and economic advancement in underdeveloped countries became objectives of U.S foreign policy. Young was forced out of that position in 1979 because he met secretly with representatives of the Palestine Liberation Organization to help mediate for peace in the Middle East. Nonetheless, in 1981, President Jimmy Carter awarded Young the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America's highest civilian award. Young returned to Georgia and served as mayor of Atlanta for two terms (1981-1990). In 1994 President Bill Clinton appointed him to oversee the $100 million Southern Africa Development Fund.

Andrew Jackson Young, son of a dentist and a teacher, grew up in a predominantly white, affluent neighborhood in New Orleans. Early in life his parents taught him the importance of giving back to the community. Young graduated from Howard University in 1951 and earned his Bachelor of Divinity degree from the Hartford Theological Seminary in Connecticut in 1955. He married schoolteacher Jean Childs in 1954. The two would raise four children together before her death in 1994. Young served as the minister of churches in rural Alabama and Georgia in 1955, then worked for the National Council of Churches in New York (1957-1961).

Young is co-founder of GoodWorks International, a consulting group that promotes initiatives to improve conditions in Africa and the Caribbean. He is also a professor in the Georgia State University Andrew Young School of Policy Studies. Young lives in Atlanta with his second wife Carolyn.