The book cover for "The Many Lives of Andrew Young” by Andrew Young and Ernie Scruggs (Courtesy of target.com)
The book cover for "The Many Lives of Andrew Young” by Andrew Young and Ernie Scruggs (Courtesy of target.com)

The former United Nations ambassador and two-term mayor of Atlanta, the Rev. Andrew Young, has a plethora of wisdom which he shares with the readers of his new book, “The Many Lives of Andrew Young.”

Young, 90, talked about his book with CNN journalist Suzanne Malveaux at a forum on April 27 at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library in downtown Washington. Young wrote the book with the assistance of Atlanta Journal-Constitution journalist Ernie Scruggs. He made history in 1972 as the first Black man to represent the South (Georgia) in the U.S. Congress since Reconstruction and as the first African-American U.N. ambassador with his appointment by President Jimmy Carter in 1977. 

In the book’s foreword, Carter expressed how much he has cherished his friendship with Young.

“Over the years, he has always been there when I needed him,” Carter wrote. “As an articulate and inspiring storyteller, he has often been called to speak about me and for me. Andy is a great friend and a national treasure.”

The 264-page book, published by NewSouth Books in Montgomery, includes photographs of Young starting as a youth growing up in New Orleans, to attending Howard University, becoming involved in the Civil Rights Movement with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., running for political office in the 1970s, serving in the House of Representatives, campaigning for Carter in the 1976 presidential race, serving as U.N. ambassador, representing the city of Atlanta as mayor, persuading the International Olympic Committee to hold the 1996 Games in Atlanta and images of family life. 

“Life is a struggle; it’s not supposed to be easy,” Young said. “If you go out at night and look at the stars, you will realize how insignificant we are in the universe.”

Young said while he supports the Black Lives Matter movement, he has some advice for its leaders.

“The right wing is using their slogans against them,” he said. “We have to be careful with slogans like ‘Defund the Police.’ We all need the police.” 

“By the way, white supremacy is a sickness,” Young observed. “If someone is a white supremacist, that is their problem. Don’t get angry with sick people. You handle your business.”

Young said he considers Black women as a political force and believes the Democratic Party would be wise to reward them for their loyalty.

“They [Black women] look at the present Congress and become disgusted,” Young said. “Black women are very serious about politics and they are going to show up on Election Day in Georgia. Stacey Abrams is running a serious campaign for governor and the Rev. Raphael Warnock is pastoring the state of Georgia. He is using the Senate seat he has as a teaching ministry.”

Young said the struggle for justice and equality takes time and advised people “not to get tired.”

“Life is hell,” he said. “You are here to struggle. Being angry paralyzes your thought processes. If you relax, your mind will start working.”

James Wright Jr.

James Wright Jr. is the D.C. political reporter for the Washington Informer Newspaper. He has worked for the Washington AFRO-American Newspaper as a reporter, city editor and freelance writer and The Washington...

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