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Andrew Young Interviewee, 1980 May 22, June 22 [Box 138, Item 7, Side 1]
Dent, Thomas C.
Topics include Howard University, Young's experience on the track team and in a fraternity, graduation, and his friendship with Reverend Nicholas Hood and emerging spirituality.
00:00 – Tom Dent and Andrew Young continue their discussion about Howard University. Young made good friends at Howard through the fraternities. He pledged Alpha because his father was. He found that people did not speak to each other. Many, especially the women, dressed up for class. Young sees this as a “security blanked” of the black middle class. Howard did not have the “Morehouse arrogance.” Veterans coming back from World War 2 were more casual. They were not of the upper class, but there on the G.I. Bill. Young rebelled against the “Black Bourgeoisie.” 04:55 – Young was middle class, so he did not feel he had to prove anything. Dent confirms that he had the same rebellion. Reflections on overachieving classmates Lorenzo Walker and Emmanuel Latunde Odeku. Odeku became the only neurosurgeon in Nigeria, the dean of the medical school, and an administrator of the National Health Service. He died at fifty. He set the curve. 09:14 – Dent has a similar story about a Nigerian student who was at Morehouse with him. He is a president at a state school now. He was older and had an exaggerated sense of purpose. Young recalls other classmates and their accomplishments. Bob Hillyard. Eugene Baxter. Joe [Payne?]. Tankard Marshall. Joe West. Lorenzo Walker held them together. Charlie Greene. These were the peers who shaped Young’s life. He learned oratory from them. Isham Baker and Louis Johnson had great singing voices. 14:44 – Young gained a sense of comradery from the group singing they performed. He was not a member of Howard’s glee club because he did not want to audition. He “did not have the nerve to do anything at Howard.” He went out for swimming and wrestling. He made the wrestling team because he knew someone on the team. The coach encouraged him to try out. He was in over his head for his first match. He sprained his ankle in his second match and quit wrestling. 19:00 – He made the swimming team in his second year at Howard. He was only at Howard three years. In the third year, he got into track. His brother Walter was on the track team at Princeton High School. When he came to visit, he and Young worked out with the track team. It bolstered his confidence to try out. It was the same coach as the wrestling team, who did not want to be bothered with Young. Young borrowed some shoes and ran in an extra lane, coming in second. 22:00 – The first track meet was against the Quantico Marines, and Young places second in the 100. He set a meet record in the 220. He still did not even have his own track uniform. He wanted to run the Seton Hall and Penn relays. He won the 440 and made the team. They won many of the races. 25:00 – The coach kept waiting for “his big guys” to get in shape and would not work with Young, but Young kept beating the rest of the group for the entire year. Dent remembers this story because he had come to visit with the debate team at that time. “I knew you were fast, but I didn’t know you were that fast!” 25:55 – In addition to finally establishing himself athletically, he also began dating a girl named Sylvia Harper. He was just turning nineteen. Everyone was getting engaged, but Young was younger. He felt pressured to give Sylvia his fraternity pin, which he did at a fraternity dance. It was the night before the CIAA Championship. He describes the ritual of giving away your pin. The next day at the track meet, nothing went right. [Recording ends 31:37, continues on Side 2.]
Young, Andrew, 1932-
New Orleans (La.)
Tulane University Digital Library
Amistad Research Center
Audiocassette, mono. 16-bit
Box 138, Item 7, Side 1, 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.