Andrew Young Oral History Collection

Description

The Andrew Young Oral History Collection encompasses 50 individual interviews conducted from 1980 to 1985 as part of writer and oral historian Tom Dent's research on his childhood friend, activist, congressman, and ambassador Andrew Young. As early as 1979, Dent was conducting research toward the autobiography of Young, though he wasn't officially hired as a consultant until 1981 to 1982 and continued to work on the book until 1986. Dent traveled to Atlanta, Georgia, to conduct a series of interviews with Young, then researched New Orleans and civil rights era history for the draft of the book, with the working title "An Easy Burden." The Young interviews provide a firsthand account of the events, leadership, and various campaigns of the Civil Rights Movement, as well as Young's childhood, work in the National Council of Churches, as a Congressman from Georgia, and United Nations Ambassador. The interviews provide numerous portraits of the SCLC leadership and civil rights workers including Hosea Williams, Ralph Abernathy, Wyatt Walker, Fannie Lou Hamer, Randolph Blackwell, Dorothy Cotton, Stan Levinson and of course Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The events and campaigns of the Civil Rights Movement are detailed for St. Augustine (Florida), Albany (Georgia), Selma (Alabama) and the Voting Rights Campaign, the Chicago Movement, and the Meredith March. Young provides detailed accounts of the FBI's harassment of Martin Luther King and SCLC staff, the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in Memphis in 1968, and comments on what Young believes were the factors that produced the Civil Rights Movement of the sixties. Additional topics within the interviews include the Poor People's Campaign, the Vietnam Peace Movement, Young's Congressional Campaign and work as the UN Ambassador to Africa. Additional interviews within the oral history collection include interviews with Young's wife, Jean Childs Young, Dorothy Cotton, and Stoney Cooks.