Civil rights icon Andrew Young visited Greenville Saturday for a conversation about his experiences in the civil rights movement and as a U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.
Young, 86, is an ordained minister who worked alongside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the 1960s organizing voter registration drives and championing non-violent organizing for change.
In the 1970s, Young was appointed Ambassador to the UN by then-President Jimmy Carter.
Greenville Technical College presented the “Conversations with Andrew Young” event as part of its celebration of Black History Month.
The event was sponsored by Fluor and held at the company’s Greenville headquarters.
Dr. Alecia Watt, director of education opportunity programs at Greenville Tech, moderated the event.
She opened with a question about Young’s experience with the civil rights movement.
“I think the first thing that everybody needs to know is that we did not know what we were doing,” Young said of the prominent leaders of the movement.
He shared, anecdotally, that they were hoping to change the country without violence and with little money, an effort King acknowledged sounded crazy.
But the men were determined and, as Young stated, they ultimately had a good track record for their efforts. It was Young and the men and women with whom he worked that helped pave the way for the passage of both the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965.
After his time as UN Ambassador, Young continued his public service as mayor of Atlanta in the 1980s and later played a key role in bringing the 1996 Olympics to the city.
Today, Young continues his work to protect and promote human rights through his Atlanta-based Andrew Young Foundation.