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Andrew Young Interviewee, 1980 June 30 [Box 138, Item 9, Side 1]
Dent, Thomas C.
Topics include: Andrew Young's father and time in Thomasville, Georgia.
00:00 – Young talks about his father on the anniversary of his death. He died at 84. He connected with people in a deep personal way. He felt his father was “more a pastor than he was a dentist,” because his patients came to him with their problems. When he was very young, his father would bring him with him in his dental trailer. A Huey Long program provided travelling dentistry for poor black people throughout the state. 03:10 – He remembers his father making him stop to talk to each patient as he walked through the office. He made him realize how important people were. He tells a story about being pulled over for running a stop sign. The policeman gave him an opportunity to lie to get out of the ticket, but he refused to because that was the kind of person he was. He believed in living the truth. He said being black you could not be 95% right, because 95% right meant wrong. 05:15 – They would shadow box. His father would stop and tell him “don’t get mad, get smart.” Young never saw him angry. He had a solid intellectual and moral perspective. Dent gives his impressions of Young’s father as well. His father did not make much, but his mother always managed to save some and they never hesitated to give it away to the church. 08:00 – His parents personally sacrificed for him and his brother. Dent comments on how the Young’s would often put guests up in their home. His grandmother also raised additional children as her own if they needed caring for. If people came by the house from the nearby railroad, they would cook meals for them. Young remembers rarely eating desserts or salads. They ate a lot of seafood. His father was spoiled. 12:00 – His father was not very interested in food. Young thinks his death may have had to do with nutritional deficiencies. He was always very thin and did not smoke or drink, although he encouraged his son to try bourbon and scotch. Young attributes his “take it or leave it” attitude to these vices to his father. Dent asks about their homes. His father was not attracted to houses and cars. 14:00 – Young’s father used to take them to boxing matches. His father would do dental work for patients even if they could not pay. He was encouraging to people. He encouraged books and reading. He and his father were both very political people. His grandfather was treasurer for masonic organizations. Everyone trusted him with money. His grandfather was a business owner. 18:50 – Young tells stories his grandfather told about Huey Long using questionable methods to get what he wanted, which included black nurses at Charity Hospital and the delay of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus. 20:30 – His grandfather opened his bar on Sunday just like the white owned bars and pool halls did. The sheriff closed him down and he asked the sheriff why they did not close the other businesses. He was told it was no business of his. He went to withdraw all his accounts, including the masonic accounts, at the bank to move to New Orleans because he was not receiving respect there. The bankers assured him he would never be troubled again. 00:05 – His grandfather met frequently with Huey Long. Young has positive recollections of Long. “He was one of the few Southerners that really practiced separate but equal.” When Senator Russell Long gave them hell for bringing a group to Washington, Young told him that they were trying to get the federal government to do for poor people in the United States what his father did for the poor people in Louisiana in the 1930s. He said “I guess my father was way ahead of his time.” 23:53 – Recollections of Thomasville, Georgia in 1954. Young and Jean went to Bethany Congregational in Thomasville and Evergreen Congregational Church in Beachton for the summer after they were married. [Recording ends 31:34, continues on Side 2.]
Young, Andrew, 1932-
Tulane University Digital Library
Amistad Research Center
Audiocassette, mono. 16-bit
Box 138, Item 9, 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.