Andrew Young calls his life a blessing as he reflects on career as lawmaker, civil rights leader

ATLANTA — He could be the last of one of Atlanta’s major civil rights leaders. Soon, Ambassador Andrew Young will turn 90 years old.

Channel 2′s Dave Huddleston sat down to talk with Young for Black History Month.

During the interview, Young reflected on his life and his message that you have to follow your dreams.

Young was Atlanta’s 55th mayor, a US congressman, an ambassador to the United Nations, and before all that, he was a leader in the fight for civil rights.

[SPECIAL SECTION: Black History Month]

But that’s not how he sees himself.

“I look at myself as being a blessed person,” Young said. “I don’t know why it happened to me, but I’m grateful.”

That blessing almost didn’t happen. His father sent him to college to become a dentist, but Young hated it.

“I didn’t get my education in the classroom, I got it on campus. And I didn’t flunk out, came close sometimes. I didn’t come close, I was afraid I might,” Young said,

He did graduate but felt lost, unsure what to do, but sure he didn’t want to be a dentist.


A college athlete, Young told Huddleston that he went for a run up a mountain to clear his mind, but it ended up changing his life.

“I came down from that mountain and said, there’s something I can do in this world that nobody else can do, I was created for a purpose by the maker of heaven and earth,” Young said.

He said his life now had purpose -- he decided to become a preacher.

Despite early struggles, Young said everything seemed to fall into place. The civil rights movement, running for Congress, becoming an ambassador to the United Nations and of course Atlanta’s mayor.

“I think I have just been wonderfully blessed, and I think that the Lord expects a return on his investments,” Young said looking back on his life.

He told Huddleston as he approaches his 90th birthday in March, there will be new civil rights leaders, and they will find their own path.

But on his accomplishment and reflecting on civil rights leaders like Martin Luther King Jr., Ralph David Abernathy and Hosea Williams, Huddleston asked him what he plans to say to them when he sees them again.

He pauses, and his response sums up their friendship and his wit.

“They shouldn’t have run off and left me,” Young said.