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Andrew Young Interviewee: Atlanta, Georgia, 1981 May 31 [Box 140, Item 2, Side 1]
Topics include: Birmingham (Alabama) Movement. Congressional period and how Congress works, particulary the various Congressional groups in which he was involved: the Civil Rights coalition, large freshman class, Black Caucus, Georgia Delegation, Congressional Prayer Breakfast, Gym Fellowship, and [Richard] Bowling Group. The Rules Committee and the Banking Committee. Watergate and the resignation of Richard Nixon, support of Gerald Ford.
00:00 - Tom Dent interviews Andrew Young. He continues talking about the Birmingham Movement. A group of students from Brighton, AL had walked to town, planning to be arrested. The steering committee was not happy, but they did not understand the dynamics of the Movement. It had a life of its own, and Young's job was to interpret that.02:37 - The Congressional period. Young talks about developing working coalitions in Congress. Young already knew many people in Congress through the Civil Rights Movement. He fell into the Civil Rights coalition in Congress, which included like Phil Burton, Morris Udall, James Edwards and Bob Eckhardt. They were part of the Democratic Study Group, made up of liberal Democrats.04:40 - He was part of a large freshman class of Congressmen in 1972, including Barbara Jordon, Yvonne Braithwaite Burke, Charlie Wilson, Charlie Rose, Patricia Schroeder, Jim Jones, Ed Mezvinsky. They were all involved in political activism. Leo Ryan was also part of that group. He was killed in Guyana at Jonestown in 1978. Pete Stark and Joe Moakley were freshmen too. They mobilized to end the war in Vietnam.08:30 - They had other victories, including minimum wage for domestic workers. They put together a Southern rural/ Northern urban coalition to save the peanut subsidy.09:30 - The third group Young aligned himself with when he got to Congress was the Black Caucus. There were seventeen members from all over the country. The fourth group he belonged to was the Georgia Delegation, which was 'an old line conservative Southern block.' The Congressional Prayer Breakfast was another group he met with, though a less official one. He got to know a group of people in Congress he politically had little in common with. It was useful to be able to work with people he did not disagree with. The Gym Fellowship was another group with which he was involved. They were made up of people who exercised regularly at the gym in the basement of the Rayburn Building.13:55 - Positions in Congress are filled on an elective basis, so it was helpful to get to know people.15:13 - Young describes the Black Caucus and what they did in more detail. They focused on poor people's issues and social reform. They were aggressive. John Conyers and Ron Dellums represented the far left. Charles Diggs was committee chairman and worked with the leadership.17:40 - The Black Caucus was the consistently liberal block in Congress. They had influence. He talks about working with conservatives like Phil Landrum and Bob Stevens. 20:10 - He talks about his work on the Peanut Subsidy.22:10 - He saw himself as 'a Congressman for the South East region.' People in the region knew him personally.[Recording ends 24:14, continues on Side 2.]
Young, Andrew, 1932-
Civil Rights Movement
Tulane University Digital Library
Amistad Research Center
Audiocassette, mono. 16-bit
Box 140, Item 2, 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.