Andrew Jackson Young Jr. (born March 12, 1932) is an American politician, diplomat, and activist. Beginning his career as a pastor, Young was an early leader in the Civil Rights Movement, serving as executive director of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and a close confidant to Martin Luther King Jr. Young later became active in politics, serving first as a U.S. Congressman from Georgia, then United States Ambassador to the United Nations, and finally Mayor of Atlanta. Since leaving political office, Young has founded or served in a large number of organizations working on issues of public policy and political lobbying.
Andrew Young was born on March 12, 1932 in New Orleans, Louisiana, to Daisy Fuller Young, a school teacher, and Andrew Jackson Young, Sr., a dentist. Young"s father hired a professional boxer to teach Andrew and his brother how to fight, so they could defend themselves. In an 1964 interview with author Robert Penn Warren for his book, Who Speaks for the Negro?, Young recalls the tensions of segregation in New Orleans, especially growing up in a fairly well-to-do household. He recalls his parents trying to "compensate for segregation" by providing for their children but were reluctant to help less wealthy black communities in the area. Young graduated from Howard University and earned a divinity degree from Hartford Seminary in Hartford, Connecticut, in 1955. He is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.
Young was appointed to serve as pastor of a church in Marion, Alabama. It was there in Marion that he met Jean Childs, who later became his wife. Young became interested in Mohandas Gandhi"s concept of nonviolent resistance as a tactic for social change. He encouraged African Americans to register to vote in Alabama, and sometimes faced death threats while doing so. It was at this time that he became a friend and ally of Martin Luther King Jr.
In 1955 he accepted a pastorate at Bethany Congregational Church in Thomasville, Georgia.
In 1957, Young and Jean moved to