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Andrew Young Interviewee, 1980 June 22 [Box 138, Item 8, Side 2]
Dent, Thomas C.
Topics include: Hartford Seminary and ministry decision. Young's friendships with Reverend Nicholas Hood and Eduardo Mondlane, founder of FRELIMO. The international focus of Hartford Seminary. Young's introduction to Gandhi and nonviolent protest. His first public speaking experience. Meeting the parents of Jean Childs, and the principle of letting God guide his life.
00:00 – After his public speaking experience at Hartford, Young always believed that “if the Lord delivered you into a situation, He would put words in your mouth.” Situations like this during the Civil Rights Movement also built up his confidence. Missionaries at Hartford also provided an education. He met a number of Africans and became quite close. He remembers other students from around the world including David Sobrepena and Davina Del Carmen. The only other black students at Hartford were Bob [Poke?] from Chicago, Ginger Evans from Brooklyn, Ethyl Johnson from Philadelphia, and Mercile Johnson from Virginia. This was their unofficial black caucus. 04:30 – He played on the seminary basketball team. He was close to the following teachers: anthropologist Dr. Paul Leser, philosopher of religion Bill Bradley, linguist Dr. [Harry?] Gleason and his wife Fran. The Gleasons would hold open houses and they would sing gospel hymns. Bradley and Leser taught a seminar for four students where meaningful conversations were held. They had one of the best libraries in the country, and Emory just bought it. They had a good Arab Studies department. His friend Graham Leonard wrote a book on the Middle East that predicted what has happened. 08:08 – He learned about foreign affairs not from reading books, but from the people he met. Dent interjects that Syracuse was not like that. Young’s friends were from South Africa, Japan, and the Philippines. The school taught cultures because they were training missionaries not to disrupt cultures. 10:45 – The first year , he still did not see himself going into the ministry. The first summer, he was again planning to go to New York to run. His mother wanted him to be closer to home and called Rev. J. Taylor Stanley, who called Young and asked him to run a Bible school at a small church in Marion, Alabama. He could not say no. He lived at Lincoln High School, which was no longer active but still owned by the American Missionary Association. The families each fed him for one week. 13:20 – The first week, he went to the house of Mr. and Mrs. Norman Childs. He noticed a senior lifesaver certificate for their daughter Jean Childs. He did not know many black women who could swim and was intrigued. She was in school at Manchester College. He was impressed by her book collection, including a new version Bible she had been underlining. He found out all about her before he met her, and decided that the Lord wanted him to be in Marion, Alabama to marry this girl (also before he met her). 16:30 – He still believes it and lives his life waiting to be guided by God. It has made his life meaningful and happy. None of his decisions were what he wanted to do, but what he thought he ought to do. Dent questions him on this plan for life. After graduation, he did finally run for the Pioneer Track Club. All of this is what caused him to break up with his girlfriend. She gave him back his fraternity pin and said it had been wonderful. 20:10 – They discuss what they still need to talk about for their notes. 21:00 – Eduardo Mondlane left Hartford in 1952 and went back to Syracuse, where he got a doctorate, and then worked at the United Nations. He went back to Mozambique in the early 60s, about the same time Young went back to the South. After being fired upon by the Portuguese, he and other protesters retreated to the bush and started a violent movement [FRELIMO]. Young always wondered what they would have done if they had been fired upon during his own civil rights work. Young had no further contact with Mondlane, but sees his family whenever he goes to Mozambique. Martin Luther King, Jr. went to Africa for Ghana’s independence, but did not go back again. He and Young never went to Africa together. 23:10 – Young and Dent speak about correspondence Young has kept regarding the United Nations. They discuss how to select what to include in the book. Dent suggests he selects a few issues to discuss. They discuss some Italian interviews Young had sent him. Those tapes cover his early time at the U.N. Dent says the hardest part of the book will be what they are doing now, discussing his early life in detail. 26:55 – Young talks about having the interview tapes typed up. Dent says he’ll have to write it anyway. Dent talks about stopping at the beginning of his political campaigning. Young tells him to put down “reversing the Southern strategy,” which was the reason he ran. 28:30 – Under the movement, they will address the March on Washington, Malcolm march and Malcolm himself, St. Augustine, Albany, Poor People’s Campaign, Selma, Dorchester, GA, the assassination, Stanley Levinson and the New York support people and whites who were supportive, the Attorney’s General and Hoover, SNCC and the Labor Defense Fund. They will go back over the following personal items: his brother Walter, his mother, Rev. Nicholas Hood, his wife Jean, and Martin Luther King, Jr. 29:52 – His friend from the Arabic Studies department at Hartford married a Palestinian woman and he knew Palestinians before that was a common issue discussed, in 1951 or 1952. They will talk about the emphasis on the different cultures Hartford Seminary put on world cultures. Young approached world issues through people he knew, not through reading. He knew Robert Mugabe personally. [Recording ends 31:38.]
Young, Andrew, 1932-
Tulane University Digital Library
Amistad Research Center
Audiocassette, mono. 16-bit
Box 138, Item 8, Side 2, Tom Dent collection, Amistad Research Center at Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana
Physical rights are retained by the Amistad Research Center. Copyright is retained in accordance with U.S. copyright laws.