Andrew Young was the pastor of a small country church when he faced down the Ku Klux Klan to organize a voter registration drive in South Georgia. He became the leading negotiator for the national Civil Rights Movement, enduring death threats, beatings and jail time to win for African Americans the rights of full citizenship they were promised by the Constitution, rights they had been long denied. Alongside his friend, Martin Luther King, Jr., he marched through the most dramatic episodes of the great struggle: from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to the streets of Birmingham and Selma, and finally to Memphis, where an assassin's bullet ended Dr King's life.
Young fought on, winning election to the United States House of Representatives, as the first African American to be elected to Congress from the Deep South since Reconstruction. As a Congressman, he supported a little-known former Governor of Georgia in his long-shot bid for the Presidency, and when Jimmy Carter became President, he named Andrew Young to serve as his country's Ambassador to the United Nations. At the UN, Andrew Young maintained his commitment to universal human rights, plunging into the most challenging controversies of the day, including the liberation struggles of Southern Africa and the search for peace in the Middle East.
He capped his career in public service with two terms as Mayor of Atlanta, Georgia. Once again, he proved himself an able negotiator, balancing the interests of the business community with the needs of the city's poorest citizens, completing the city's transformation from a battleground of the Civil Rights era to the proud showplace of the modern South. Half a century after the battles of the 1960s, Andrew Young remains an outspoken champion for the rights of all mankind.
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