Statue of Andrew Young unveiled in Atlanta park as birthday celebrations continue

ATLANTA — The weeklong celebration of Ambassador Andrew Young continued Thursday with a peace walk and the unveiling of a statue of the civil rights icon.

Channel 2′s Dave Huddleston got the chance to speak with the artist Thursday and got Young’s reaction to how he’s being honored for his 90th birthday.

The statue was unveiled in Cook Park in Atlanta’s Vine City neighborhood.

“He’s eight feet tall and good looking. That makes me happy,” Young said jokingly.

He told Huddleston all the attention he’s been getting for his 90th birthday is a blessing, but he’s always liked just doing the work, in the background.

“I was standing in the crowd cheering, clapping and taking pictures like everybody else,” Young said.

Before the unveiling, more than 200 people at the park sang “Happy Birthday” to Young, who turns 90 on March 12.

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The sculptor, Gregory Johnson, told Huddleston that he wanted the statue to show Young doing the people’s work.

“I came across this picture of Andrew many years ago. He’s probably in his middle 30s and he’s walking in the airport with Martin Luther King Jr. I said, ‘That’s the pose,’ and we added the jacket to him to because it gave him a more interesting look -- that of a diplomat,” Johnson said.

As part of the celebration, there was also a walk for peace and reconciliation that started at Centennial Olympic Park.

Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan said Young has taught us the importance of working with others for good during the civil rights movement all the way through the riots of 2020.

“Our state emerged stronger that summer from meaningful conversations that took place following the injustices that took place and witnessed by the nation,” Duncan said.

Johnson is from Forsyth County, and he was also commissioned to do a sculpture of Rep. John Lewis, which also stands in Cook Park.

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