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Andrew Young Interviewee: Atlanta, Georgia, 1980 August 20 [Box 138, Item 19, Side 1]
Dent, Thomas C.
Topics include: Young's relationship with his brother Walter Young, the Watts Riots, and the Chicago Movement. [Some audio distortion.]
00:00 – Tom Dent interviews Andrew Young. Andrew Young and his brother Walter had a competitive relationship. Young recalls fighting with Walter in the backyard of their home on Cleveland Avenue as children, when Walter hit him with a hatchet. 03:00 – They also played together. Walter had his own friends, Ernest [Cherie?] and Dan Christian. They were two and a half years apart in age, but four years apart academically. They played on the neutral ground on Galvez and in a vacant lot at Miro and Cleveland, next to Bishop Green’s house. 05:00 – Walter went away to Princeton to high school and came into his own. He was on the track team, and was responsible for getting Young into track. He went to Baldwin Wallace University and majored in Chemistry and minored in Biology and Religion at the time Young was at seminary. 07:00 – Dent thought their father favored Young over Walter, and Young agrees. Their father was working out of state by the time Walter became older, so they did not bond in the same way. Walter wanted to be a dentist and worked with his father in the office. He was an accomplished lab technician by the time he got to dental school. 09:55 – Walter served as a Navy lieutenant after finishing dental school. Dent thinks their mother made an effort to make up for the favoritism on the part of their father. Young says part of this was due to Walter’s asthma and allergies. Young thought it was psychosomatic. 11:30 – Walter’s reaction to Young going into ministry was one of resentment. The church has previously been Walter’s area of interest and Young had not seemed interested. Walter remained active in the church and close to Reverend Nick Hood. Young did not much discuss his work with SCLC with Walter, although Walter was active in Plaquemines, LA, where CORE was active. 14:25 – Walter got a divorce from his first wife, Charmaine, and married Mary Hamilton, Field Secretary for CORE. They later divorced. Walter and Charmaine had a daughter named Tammy, whom he remains close with. After his marriage to Mary, Walter remarried Charmaine. Later, after they split up permanently, he married Sonja. 16:45 – Walter achieved success in his own right in areas Young had not done well. He was successful financially. He was successful independent of his father’s practice. He and Bertrand Tyson created a medical and dental team which took care of children through Head Start. He worked well and quickly. 20:00 – He was a playboy. He and Tyson took a month off to party around the world. This allowed him to meet people who lead into his current business relationships. He moved to Atlanta and married Sonja, who was family oriented. She and Jean get along very well. They all play tennis together and are evenly matched. It is a healthy outlet for Walter’s competitive instinct. 22:15 – Walter was financially supportive of the Civil Rights Movement. He supported CORE and SCLC. He is very generous and would let people stay with him. Walter's home is still the family’s center of activity. 24:30 – The Chicago Movement. SCLC ended the summer of 1965 with staff at a hundred and four counties across the South, working to implement to Voting Rights Act. The Watts Riots began at the end of August and Martin Luther King, Jr. and Young went to California. Dent recalls Young had been in New Orleans taking time off at the time. They had been working steadily since the Birmingham Movement and he was tired. 26:43 – The violence was over by the time they got to Watts. It started due to police insensitivity. They met with leaders. Black leadership in Los Angeles felt they needed King to be a voice to the nation for the problems of poor black people. Problems in the North and in large cities were based on economics. They saw Southern cities making progress on the rights issues, but they were making no economic progress. Rising expectations and lack of change produced restlessness. 29:12 – SCLC started with social problems, moved to political, and knew that the next step would be economic problems. They hoped for a solid political base in the South before they took on the economic problems. 30:15 – King had talked about racism, poverty, and war in his Nobel Prize speech. They had gravitated to racism and war, but knew poverty would be the most difficult. Lyndon Johnson had enacted a poverty program prior to Watts, but it had yet to produce results. [Recording ends 31:51, continues on Side 2.]
Young, Andrew, 1932-
Los Angeles (Ca.)
Tulane University Digital Library
Amistad Research Center
Audiocassette, mono. 16-bit
Box 138, Item 19, 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.