This post is one of a series this week in anticipation of the 4th April 2008, the 40th anniversary of the death of Martin Luther King Jnr.
It looks at Andrew Young, who like King commenced his career as a pastor (in Alabama) and was greatly influenced by the writings of Mahatma Gandhi and his concept of non-violent resistance.
At the twentieth anniversary of the death of Martin Luther King Jnr journalists were assessing the legacy of King, one of which was the emergence of black politicians and their appointment to significant positions. Robin Toner writes about the rise of Andrew Young. Here are some excerpts from an article published on 1 April 1988:
“Twenty years ago Andrew Young marched behind the mule-drawn wagon that carried the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to his tomb. Today, as Mayor of Atlanta, he presides over the political establishment of the city that will act as host to the 1988 Democratic National Convention. It is an establishment that is mostly black.”
“The political scene in and around the convention hall will be a rich reflection of the King legacy. The Rev. Jesse Jackson, who has reached eagerly for King's mantle, has waged two Presidential campaigns that test the ceiling on black political aspirations. In Atlanta, other sons and daughters of the civil rights movement have pushed through other political ceilings, step by step, office by office…”
“Mr. Young is thinking about running for governor in 1990. No black man has ever been elected to that post in any state, but the Mayor of Atlanta thinks Georgia may be ready to break the barrier.” [He was unsuccessful]
“Mr. Young relaxed in his office one recent afternoon and talked about what made Atlanta's politics different. ‘So many of the politicians originally came out of the civil rights movement,’ he said. ‘That's changing, but most of us became politicians when it could cost you your life.’”
“Mr. Young, once a top lieutenant to Dr. King, laughed and added, ‘It wasn't just blind ambition.’”
Source: Robin Toner, ‘Legacy of Dr King is Reflected in the Political Power Structure of Atlanta’, The New York Times, 1 April, 1988.
Dr. Geoff Pound
Image: “Twenty years ago Andrew Young marched behind the mule-drawn wagon that carried the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to his tomb.”