January 21, 2011


Andrew Young keynotes King Week

Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Andrew Young gave insight into aspects of the civil rights movement during his King Week keynote address on Jan. 18.

He talked about his personal relationship with Martin Luther King Jr.

He gave recognition to the women who stood behind the leaders of the movement; a story he said is virtually unknown and has never been told.

“These women were behind us kicking our butts every step of the way. Every time we’d slow down, they’d find some way to push us on,” said Young.

Young talked about the public’s misperception of the late Coretta Scott King, largely due to historians who didn’t know her personally.

“They saw her as a queen meeting with presidents and signing bills. They didn’t have any idea of the little girl who picked 200 pounds of cotton and still got to church on time and made her choir rehearsals in the evenings,” said Young.

He concluded with King’s legacy, emphasizing non-violence as the way to respond to racism, an “original sin that dates back to Cain and Abel -- brothers fighting against each other.”

Referencing the future building of King’s memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., Young said it’s “a monument not to a black man, but to a saint who understood that the world cannot solve its problems unless it lives together as brothers and sisters rather than perish together as fools.”

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