tv Ernie Suggs The Many Lives of Andrew Young CSPAN June 30, 2022 9:26am-10:46am EDT
that tells the american story. at 2 p.m. eastern on the presidency, in honor of nancy reagan's birthday, we look back at the first lady's legacy, first years in the white house through photography, staff remembrances and a new postage stamp honoring mrs. reagan unveiled by jill biden. and the winner of the george washington book praise. mr. ragsdale won during a ceremony, "washington and the plow, the founding farmer and the question of slavely", watch saturday on c-span2 and find a schedule on your program guide and watch anytime at c-span.com/history. >> i want to welcome you to what i think is a very special program tonight. we're honored tonight to be able to spend evening with ambassador andrew young,
marking his 90th birthday this past saturday. we're part of that celebration. and we're going to hear a lot about his remarkable life in the next hour from reporter and author ernie suggs and graphic designer. and ernie, as you all probably know, covers race and culture for the atlanta journal constitution. he's a graduate of north carolina central university and we thank the alumni association for their support. he was selected as a neiman fellow at harvard university and now serves on the fellowship board. don is a multi-talented multi-graphic artist and designer. he got his formal training at columbus college of art and design in columbus, ohio, and those of you who have gotten a copy of the book, the many lives of andrew young, will see
don's amazing work in the pictures and layouts and i had the pleasure of working with don when he created an exhibit at the king center. it was an exhibit about president carter and martin luther king and both of atlanta's nobel peace prize award winners. and then most importantly, ambassador andrew young. there has been a lot said about ambassador young over the past week and you will hear a lot more tonight. i just want to relay one personal story that i think typifies andrew young to me. we hosted reporter katherine johnson a few years ago to talk about her relationship with coretta scott king and she was in conversation with andrew young and during that program, i found out that former first
lady barbara bush had passed away while the program was underway. and so we got to the end of the program and i thanked katherine and i thanked ambassador young and then i mentioned that barbara bush had passed away and ambassador young, without pausing or leaving the stage, offered a beautiful prayer of remembrance for mrs. bush because that's the type of person he is. so, please, join me in welcoming ernie suggs, and ambassador andrew young. [applause] >> and i think at this point it might be fitting since his
birthday was saturday. join me. ♪ happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you ♪ ♪ happy birthday ambassador young ♪ ♪ happy birthday to you ♪ (applause) >> ernie, thank you. >> thank you very much. thank you, tony. and this is crazy because i've been out in the audience many times for these events and i've sat on this stage many times as a moderator, but never in my wildest dreams did i think i would be here talking about a book that i'd written. when tony called me and said you wanted to do this i was
excited and then called me and said it was sold out and more excited and book tv would be broadcasting it, book tv, the cameras are there, going to broadcast this and then opened up more seats and that sold out. i was like, this is crazy because i've never been this popular before in my life and telling tony this and i finally made it and hit big time and you know, i'm going to become a big, you know, new york times best seller and tony, you know, for those of you who know tony, he wasn't saying anything, i'm talking and talking going on for five minutes and i look over at him and finally he said, you know what andy young is going to be here, too, right? [laughter] >> so i know you're here to talk to and see the great ambassador young so i want to introduce my brother and you guys give him a round of applause for brother andrew young. [applause] >> and let me introduce my
home boy from new orleans who went through piles and piles of memorabilia and knew that my mother required me to write every week when i went away to college. and her thing was if i don't get a letter, i'll assume that everything is all right and you don't need any money. [laughter] >> so i have a letter almost every week i was away in college and he dug through that "amistad" exhibit at tulane university in new orleans where my mother took all of her papers and over in the library here on auburn avenue where
there's something like 5,000 books. >> 545 boxes. >> 540 boxes. but he did the grunt work of pulling together the pieces of my life and since i didn't have anything to do, but to live it, i am really grateful because, damn, i'm somebody. [laughter] >> well, i want to start off, i want to read something, this is in the atlanta journal, constitution, on sunday i wrote an essay about the relationship that i have with ambassador young, dating back 26 years when i was a young reporter in durham. and i say, and the name of the book, the many lives of andrew young and i write, over the years i've carefully watched how people address andrew
young. the practice is to refer to him on first reference as ambassador. james orange, who many of you know, called him my leader and cc vivian called him my doctor, and everybody called him that and andy by those who know him casually, sometimes congressmen and in an african kingdom, king. there are some the age of his daughter, call him uncle andy. i choose to call him my brother, andrew young. and i want to ask you the first question in the many lives of andrew young, when you get up in the morning and look in the mirror, who are you? >> you know, that's what i try to figure out every day. it's -- and basically, well, when i left college i felt like i had wasted all of my life up
to that time. though i had a diploma and i ran to the top of king's mountain because that was 1951, everything was segregated. the only place we could stop was at a missionary school in king's mountain. and my mother and father were there at a conference and i went out running up the mountain. and when you're running toward a mountain and you're running downhill and you don't realize it, but you're going faster than you're supposed to and then i decided to run to the top of the mountain and i was already exhausted. and i had-- i just sort of passed out, i think. i don't know what happened. but when i woke up i opened my
eyes and came to, the world just looked different. and it hit me that everything i saw had a purpose, the trees, the cows, the corn fields, you know, the sky. and there wasn't no awakening. everything i see here as a purpose. and whoever made heaven and earth couldn't have made everything without a purpose except me. and so, i came down from that mountain figuring, i got to have a purpose and i don't care what it is, i don't need to know, one day at a time and i do the best i can. and today and tomorrow will take care of itself.
he so, i tell it this long way, because the truth of it is, i don't have a clue who i am. [laughter] >> you know, when i wake up in the morning. it's whatever, you know, it's just like nobody knew we'd be in the middle of a war right now. we thought this was over with after vietnam. you know, and here we are on the edge of total destruction, except for couple of crazy people. and probably the most unity we've seen in the rest of the world since the close of world war ii. so there's -- who was it, somebody used to say that it's one of the favorite sayings of
martin luther king, the world's in balance and which way it turns depends on what decision you make that day. and i don't think of it that dramatic, but i really do figure that every day has to make a difference some kind of way to somebody. and it makes for a really interesting life. >> so, when you went up that mountain, you're almost describing a biblical or spiritual, and you went who howard university and your father wanted you in dental, and you came down the mountain a different person. >> i think so. but again, i wanted to be an athlete, too, and so, i was on the swimming team all winter and the track team all spring
and so physically and mentally, and i didn't -- i could have flunked out of school, but i didn't-- i mean, it was too easy not to. [laughter] >> , but i really only-- i mean, i really didn't care what i was learning. i cared about not embarrassing my parents, but from that point on, it was me and whoever made me. >> your fingerprints are all over, not only atlanta about here. and at the carter center at the jimmy carter presidential library and this facility came about when you were mayor, you know, the -- coming about. tell us a little about your relationship since we're here
and president carter wrote the forward to the book, about your relationship with president carter. >> well, i think he is one of the truly great men that i've known. he's clearly the most disciplined man i have ever met. as long as i've known him, whenever i call up and get an appointment, i know that i've got 15 minutes. and i see that as an improvement because when he was in government, you've only got five minutes, because he thinks of his time as sacred. >> okay. >> and as governor, five minutes, he could take a picture, he could hear what you
wanted to say and i could either answer it or assign it to somebody and you were out there in 15 -- in five minutes. even in the white house, i could see him any time, but there's something about him that when he gets your point, he's got other things to do. >> yeah, yeah, time to go. >> and i mean, he really does value time more than anybody i know. >> okay, all right. >> and time is important. dr. mays' poem, i don't remember it, but a tiny little minute, just 60 seconds in it, i can't abuse it, i must use
it. >> yeah. >> i can't afford to lose it or something like that. >> all the morehouse guys are always quoting that. so in 1996, you wrote your autobiography, and now you're 90 years old and the book comes out, you've looked at it of course, and what are your thoughts about the book? well, you all did a -- (laughter) >> i mean, you all did a wonderful job and it really, it really looks like something it took five or six years to put together and i think you did it in two months. and so it's the kind of summary of life and particularly, my life, and my times that, well,
i've only -- shouldn't confess that, but all of our presidents who write-- i've read almost every book president carter wrote except the one about his presidency. [laughter] >> you know, and this is different from that. this is the human life that i have been privileged to be a part of. and it covers everything, but it's the kind of thing that would give people a very good feeling about me and make them think i was really important,
but i wish i'd had you all working with me on some of my other stuff and we'd taken time because where the book is weak, i think, is on my time in atlanta. i mean, as mayor, that there's a lot on the civil rights movement that's very important. and that may be the most important part of my life, the united nations was extremely important and i was talking to the former prime minister of jamaica and i told him, just this afternoon, he called me to -- pj patterson, he called me to wish me a happy birthday and i said, do you remember when you helped us put together the
panama canal treat? he said you know nobody knows about that. the hangup on the pan mal canal treaty was fidel castro. if he had been for it, the congress would have been against it. and if he was not, and the purpose of the treaty was to keep castro quiet. president carter came to me, andy you've known a lot of these fellas a good while, haven't you? >> yeah he said do you think you can find two or three to get castro just to stay out of
this? >> and i said i really do, i think we can. >> and i came back after a little while after touching base with michael manly of jamaica, lopez fortio of mexico, i think, from costa rica, venezuela, all of them had been young communists in high school with castro, and they'd all become democrats and allies of the united states. and so when i tracked a few of them down, they all said, we can get this done. don't worry about this, let us handle this, see. and sure enough, it went
smoothly. and nobody in the state department ever had a clue. [laughter] >> and the night after the treaty was signed, we were all staying in the same hotel and president carter called me and said, how many of those guys that helped you with castro are in this hotel? i said most of them. he said, can you gather them in your room around 11:00 tonight? and i said sure. and he said, i'd like to thank them personally. so i rounded up a half dozen presidents and they were sitting around and it was really like, one, it was very
religious because they realized that they'd done something together that was sort of unthinkable without jimmy carter. and they might have saved the western hemisphere. but that's sort of the way things worked with him. >> well, i want to get with donald about you growing up in new orleans and you mentioned atlanta. let's talk about atlanta first and then we'll jump to donald. i don't know if andrea is here, your daughter. she told me when you and her ride around the city and how proud you are of what you see, the buildings and construction, and what's happening at the airport. you've obviously made a major impact. >> well, right here. >> right here. >> yeah, i mean, i figure
between the presidential parkway and 400, i got cussed out close to a hundred times by my friends, you know? and they were people who supported me and i didn't lie, i said i wasn't for more roads. until i realized that there was the possibility of another 150,000 square feet of office space and housing that was going to descend on this place. because the airport was already built and that we would not have been able to function in the city without this presidential parkway. and even john lewis, you know,
voted against it. all of my friends voted against it and i got even with john and put his name on it. [laughter] # >> but it's -- when i was driving in from sandy springs, way out there, somewhere, and the sun was just-- oh, it had been early morning or something, rotary club or something that meets in the morning and it was -- i mean, the sun was just coming up over the city of atlanta and i got emotional about stuff like that. >> okay. >> because i can remember the ground breaking, you see, of the ritz carlton. they gave it another name now,
but -- and when lenox square was a little row of shops. and when the tallest building in downtown was the hyatt. and the meeting i had with bill marriott and john pullman about building the marriott marquee. you know, and bill marriott ended up building 72 hotels in atlanta when i was mayor. that's the kind of growth that nobody could believe, see, so i was operating on things that i knew to be happening and, but even i would not have believed, when kassim reed was mayor, we averaged $5 billion a year in new investments.
i mean, buildings permits. $5 billion a year is the sum total of all of the investments that goes into south africa, the whole country. in the nation in europe that has grown like we have grown, and well, i don't take credit for it, but i sure am proud of it. [applause] >> well, you talked a lot-- i'm going to get to you, don. you talked a lot about the atlanta way and you, in our many interviews, talked in 1946 you game here to a conference and the klan marched down the avenue. and 1951 you were here with your parents and driving on ponce delee leon, and he showed
down because he felt the rats had more to be here. and look where we are now, we hosted the olympics and the world's biggest airport and your impressions from 46 and-- >> it didn't happen in '46. the atlanta way didn't happen until-- it was about '60, 59, '60. well, it was ivan allen's -- well, maybe go back a little further. i don't know what year that was, but when hartsfield lost his election and he lost the election because he gave delta a free pass to come to atlanta
and offered them all the land they wanted for a dollar a year for 50 years. he paid $90,000 for all of the basic land that's now the atlanta airport and the unforgivable sin was he put up red lights on peach tree street and they voted him out of office. and there was a group of people who did not want to change, and there was a group of people that saw change as inevitable and most of those were related to coca-cola. because the decision that probably started it all was mr. woodruff saying that the soldiers who are defending the united states ought to be able to drink a coca-cola anywhere in the world they were sent.
well, that was in addition to being very patriotic, it was probably the best business decision any company ever made and we immediately, on that decision, became a worldclass city. we didn't know it yet, but then coming back from south africa, and he'd been there when they voted in apartheid and he's from, i think, la grange, georgia. and he and mr. woodruff and ivan allen did not -- ivan allen was president of the chamber then. they did not want atlanta to be a backward city. and they started talking about something that they-- that ended up being named the
plan of improvement. it almost didn't come out until sam ma sell was there and god bless sam masell, he's passed on a day or so ago. >> sunday. >> at 94. but he was in the state legislature. i mean, in the board of aldermen they called it then for 30-some years and was mayor, vice-mayor and then mayor, but all of this had been evolving and they were dreams. maynard jackson comes along and, well, first i got elected to congress and i wasn't supposed to get elected much the district was still just, i think, 38% black.
and i got more black turnout than anybody had before. i think we had a 74% black turnout and we got more white folks voting for me and i beat a very good republican and we became dd we were always very good friends. and rodney cook and -- but things were just changing so fast. and i don't know how i started this history, but-- we were talking about the atlanta way. >> the atlanta way, i could -- i attribute to a woman by the name of helen bullard and i don't know who she worked for, but she told all of the business community what to do. and a city too busy to hate was
her motto, also. >> so she came up with that? >> all of this and it was-- i mean, she worked for mayor hartsfield. she worked for ivan allen as chamber president of the chamber of commerce. she worked for coca-cola. dick goodwin, but she had a way and she sort of-- that's one of the reasons why i'm so grateful to sam. because when i also my first race to congress, he was very worried about racial division and i think he and jessie hill got together and asked -- and he appointed me chairman, co-chairman of the community relations commission with
archbishop of the roman catholic church, but helen bullard was on that commission, randy taylor of the presbyterian church. one why ame church. it was a powerful group. we must have had six strikes that summer. they were all conflagration of race and class and respect. and that's all been doing in the civil rights group. i mean, that's all racism is, a lack of respect based on race or class. and so when it happened, mead packing company, i mean, it was -- there were about six of these during the summer, but we
got to the point where we understood the dynamics so well, we could settle them in a matter of days because it's -- i think mead was the one that a black woman didn't take her insulin, forgot to take her insulin, got to work and started feeling dizzy and asked to go home and get her insulin and her supervisor said, well, if you leave, you miss a day's work. she didn't miss a day's work so she passed out. ... thought said she died because he wouldn't let her go home and get our medicine. so everybody will you know thousand workers walk out and you got hell on your hands if it's not shut down quickly. well, i i had been doing that. for a living i have been doing that for a living for martin luther king, and so we were handling a strike every other week without,
without any trouble. because we had the respect from the white community. we had the respect from the black community and we had the respect of poor people. because i've been to jail with the garbage workers when it first came back here. so that's why i'm grateful because he took me out of the movement and made me respectful. >> let's go a to -- for those of you who have copy of the book you see a beautiful it is. the beautiful words are mine but the beautiful design is donald. [applause] i don't know if his wife is here but donald loves to talk. i like to watch television and don would call me right in the middle of like my favorite tv
show and want to talk for two hours. i would always have to put on bosman thank you for the work you did fork the book. talkbe about, you're from new orleans and to travel there several times to go through the archives and found a lot of stuff that he hadn't seen, that ambassador young had seen for a while. talk about the process in the process of designing the book. >> well, they approach me about the project and i was excited to do it. there had been attempts in previous years to try to put something together. it just never sometimes if ideas but anyway in this case it was an accelerated timeline, but more importantly we had an institutional, we had a knowledge of your life. we had w been working since 2007 so we can to get okay, this happen in the chronological order and then wentet to find te answers or had to find the visuals. over the summer we probably
scanned maybe 3000 images from your home and that was just digitizing. it wasn't specific to the book because with that catalog we were able to see some things. ambassador young's mother was a very good organized. she kept every scrap of paper that had to do with him and his brother. they hadut everything in this archive. she only had four boxes but they had a letter from president carter that was in this box i said i don't know what else is in there but i'm going down, i'm going. in went down and met with the archivist and they had some images of ambassador young digging trenches in austria in 1953 i think it was, and there's pictures, and his writing, on the back of the picture notation is telling his mother, and look, penmanship from ambassador young is very good. i mean, it's very artistic.
>> i was in love with my fourth grade teacher. [laughing] >> right. she's the only teacher that ever, she put her hands on my shoulder and said, oh, you sure form your letters well. you write just like the penmanship book. and i've been writing for that lady ever since and i've even married two fourth-grade teachers. [laughing] >> i did know s that. fourth grade, fifth grade. i'm promoting.g. [laughing] >> we got all the images, a letter from president carter, digitizedhe it. so they had t some really rich items in the archive in new orleans. as aea matter fact i was driving around new orleans and n occult ambassador young and said what's the street name of your church that you grew up in? of the actl
street and all of this all these different things. and so we got back to atlanta and we did all the archival search in the auburn library research center, which they had a lot. it was a lot because you're pulling you probably i don't know. i didn't do a photo count on how many they having that book, but you're going from a let's say 4500 images to let's say, you know, maybe a hundred two hundred fifty. and then someone asked well, how do you decide? part of the goal is they picked the ones where i was really good looking that was that was natural. because and i didn't have anything to do with it web you got to tell about so the reason he has so many great images because he had a relative in new orleans who had a photo studio. and and you could tell the first. the first black owned photography store in new orleans was owned by my aunt.
and she wasn't actually my aunt my grandmother. had six children, but she raised 11. and i don't know how all of that happened, but that's that was creole new orleans and one of my aunts started a photography store right on the corner of rampart and canal street. and it's where i had my first job. i mean i was i had to get there every morning and at seven o'clock. and scrub the floors and dust down everything and they taught me how to develop pictures but i mean i i had a background in photography and i appreciation of photography and there was well, somebody gave me one of these.
big speed graphics. in fact it was the director the ymca. when i was about 13 14 years old and so my hobby and in high school was photography so if you are going to just go back to when ernie set out called him and talked him for two two hours. we were working. i was missing my tv shows up. that's one of the great photos in this if you have a copy of the book is on page 17. of this is you probably. a year old the less than a year old. yeah. yeah, so i think we're going to i have some more questions, but it we're going to ask also have q and a so if you have a question, please start lining up if you have any questions, but let me ask you this you have you know, the name of the book is the many lies of andrew young and it seems to me that you know, you are a top-flight athlete growing up you were i i
have a feeling that if you wanted to do better at howard you could have you would have but you did very well at seminary you became a noted civil rights figure. you left that you became a us congressman. then you became a united states un ambassador the mayor of atlanta now, you're a philanthropist. you with your with the end of young foundation. so does everything come easy to you? it must i mean because i have never known like i don't have a clue as to what tomorrow will do for me. i mean, i really don't i i didn't know. i didn't know i was going to end up supporting jimmy carter. until the night i supported i started okay i was very cautious and then the one of these new
york newspapers did an attack on him. village voice village voice did an attack on him calling him a racist. and i was making a speech somewhere in pennsylvania. and joni powell called me up and said we need you to. kind of do an answer. to this and i said well i don't know how he got it to me, but he read it to me and i said that's enough. and he said can we write something for you to send out i said no. i want to write it and i stayed up the rest of the night. they put the whole page. of the village voice was the letter that i wrote. and it was really answering. the editor of the village voice
in julian bond and julian's problem with jimmy carter. julian really was a black aristocrat. i mean his daddy had a phd he'd gone to you know, exclusive prep schools. all over and and and he was very uncomfortable with just the southern twang of jimmy carter and so when i got through writing and headed back to jody. they put it on the front page of the village voice and that was the week before. the new york primary? okay, and but until that night i will support more, you know only because i was in congress with him and all of the congressmen got together and decided that
they wanted someone from the house of representatives as a candidate and i signed on not really knowing him or thinking about it, but once that you know hit the front pages. it went statewide. and jimmy carter carried. new york so he had no trouble carrying in, florida i see a bill crane, but i want to ask one follow-up question bill you i wrote sunday that you were never afraid to talk. you're never afraid to voice your opinion even when it's not popular. so you talk about when you did not support you you weren't sure about supporting jimmy carter 30 years later. we had the barack obama run for president. you famously said i don't know if it's famous to you. but you said that you want him to be president in eight years not in 2008. so you've never been afraid to say what's on your mind even though it's not there again.
my mother's godchild. was later, she married. well, grant hills. she's grant hill's mother basketball player say but shopping hill calvin hill, but she and hillary clinton were roommates said at wellesley is it? well, so yeah. yeah, and so i had been hearing about hillary clinton since she was a in college. and she she really see they graduated right after martin's death 68. and ed brooke was the convention commencement speaker and he gave a speech.
supporting the war in vietnam you know. two months after martin luther king's been killed. and hillary got up. and through her paper away and she dressed down. the only black senator in in the congress and she told him to bits. say and their picture was on the cover. i think of look magazine. so i'd been following her since she was 17. and and i had never met obama. and i made the mistake of reading the wrong book first. so if you read his book on his childhood. and you get who he really is dreams of my father said dreams of my foot, but i didn't know that one.
the first time i heard of him paid attention to him. i happened to be in hawaii and his book that he wrote just came out. and so i read it on the way back from hawaii and it wasn't anything that anybody else had was saying i mean, that was not a good book. say i mean it wasn't a good book. i mean it didn't like. jimmy carter's book why not the best was so arrogant see what i mean? see? i mean it really was who in the hell is this georgia cracker saying why not the best? but you read it and you really said, you know. he is pretty good. yeah, well, it was nothing shocking like that about obama's book and so i didn't pay much attention to it. whereas i had 20 years of
experience i mean gene my first wife and hillary will co-chairs of the children's defense fund. hillary had been down in mississippi registering voters say walk in the streets of mississippi roads of mississippi, hillary and her friend hitchhiked to alaska and had worked in a salmon factory. so i mean that's one hell of a woman for me and i didn't want to make the decision on race. the other thing is the country was so screwed up. that's what always happens. they wait till something is really screwed up and then they turn over to somebody black. with with you know her husband
with pretty good experience and and and he would she would have been a great president because she wouldn't have listened to him. yeah. say and so everything that i valued appointed to hillary first and and then barack, okay. and the country might have been better off if he'd gone that way but that wasn't right bill bill. crane. furniture shows up if i didn't get caught online been fine ambassador. i've had the pleasure of seeing you speak in a number of roles in your life. but i will never forget your remarks in centennial olympic park. just days after the bombing and you have many skills and talents and everybody here knows that but you are always able to calm waters. when they are tempest teapot boiling you are always able to give us that bigger picture and like you said on the top of king
mountain. just kind of seeing everything a little differently and we all needed the reset button push that morning, but i watched as you came up to the podium you pulled out as you often do. remarks repaired prepared for you because it was a very important moment. there were a lot of seats already sold and weren't sure if the volunteers were going to show up then you put them back in your pocket. and as you always do you just extemporaneously went on for 30 to 40 minutes you never oh, you never or you never stammer. what inspired you that morning? because i can remember pieces of that speech now from that morning in 1996. well, i can't but what inspired me was my first church. was in thomasville and beachton, georgia. now beached and is halfway between thomasville and tallahassee. it's a little crossroads town. and the members of that church. war had come to georgia from alabama when the slave master
would let them learn how to read him wouldn't let their pastor teach them how to read. the pastor came over to georgia. there was a congregational church school there. and he moved the whole church out of alabama in the middle of the night and came to georgia see and because of the school, but when i got down there as their pastor, they would georgia church and they said now preacher. we know you didn't been up north the school and all. but down here. we don't believe in paper in appropriate and said if you guys something for us. you said we wanted to come from your heart? and said if it's on paper. we just want you to know. about a third sunday. they won't be anybody in church. say so i think i was 21 then.
and so i started realizing that i had to preach the way these folk wanted me to preach. and and that's the way it. seems to work. now well the it's the church. feeding you. and not all the spirit. i don't know which are both. because as soon as you get up and say good morning church. amen brother the major plane. i mean it's a give and take. preaching in a country church in georgia is a conversation? is not a lecture. and i guess. i've done that so much that.
i wasn't thinking about what i wanted to say. i was thinking about what? the people needed to hear and it works out most of the time. you know. it's noted that these are my notes. and we were in the green room and i pulled them out. i was writing some notes and he told me to put it away and just talk she said oh, right it down don't write it. yeah, so, yes, you have a question. hi first i am honored to be in your presence from one new orleans to a fellow new orleans. i am 45 and you are 90 and you have done some amazing things into out the world. would be one word of inspirational or encouragement to my generation that is coming up behind you today. well i don't think that. well, let me encourage you. and you take care of your
generation. when i when i came down from the mountain. in 1951 i ended up in theological seminary. that september and somewhere along the line. somebody gave me a book. it was a little devotional book. and the title of it was testament of devotion by thomas kelly it's a little quaker book. and there's a it's really in the first couple of pages. this is something like deep within us all. there's an amazing inner sanctuary of the soul. a quiet place yet a speaking
voice. eternity is at our hearts. pressing against our time to our lives. calling us to minute. astounding destiny. and calling us home to our himself. and you listen to the still small voice within you. and go where it said, you know, you'll be all right. sassy, i see tony creeping up. so i want to ask you one one last question if that's okay. we can do all night if you want, but what's the what's the most important thing you've ever done in these 90 years. well, you know, i've been figuring that out since you open the book together. and i decided.
the in 1964 martin luther king sent me to saint augustine, florida and the congress was in session. and it was in the middle of the filibuster. of the 64 civil rights act and the clan was so wild. and so violent. i mean up until that time there had been more people hurt. it's the only movement we were in that i've been a part of. where the hospital bills were bigger than the bail bond bills. i mean it was really ruthless and dr. king sent me down there to stop the movement. he said what one he didn't want
any more people hurt unnecessarily. he really believed that the civil rights bill would pass within the next two weeks or so. and he didn't want people hurt for nothing, but he also knew. that if for some reason or other the situation got out of hand. and it became violent. instead of nonviolent that that would kill the civil rights bill. so i go down to stop this to stop the march. and i mean my brother. hosea williams was also my nemesis. because he didn't believe jose jose was in a foxhole in germany well first place he he volunteered for the military when he was 16 or 17.
because it was the only place he could go to legally kill white people. and and that was his background, so he was in a foxhole. and they had been a direct hit. and when they came to get the bodies out. he was the only one alive on the bottom of the bodies. and he came back. a disabled veteran after 11 months in the hospital on crutches with a purple heart and in uniform and drank from i mean it didn't even drink from a water fountain. he he bought. a cup to get water from a fountain that said white only. and some you know young thugs roughed him up as a you know. a veteran will a purple heart and just coming out of a
hospital and second world war. and he decided that god wanted him to be killed. here for his people. he was always trying to get himself killed. yeah. i mean literally he he was so fearless it was. well martin luther king confessed that we all had to be clinically insane. because nobody in that right mind would think that a ragtag bunch like us? change the nation. and he concluded himself. he said, you know. i should know better. and but but anyway, he sent me down there. and when i came by the park and saw the clan through saturday night they were drunk and breaking bottles and chains
rattling and hooping and hollerin and going on and so is the last place you'd want? to march and i walk in the church in jose says there's dr. king has sent andrew young down here to lead you all down in the march and i said no jose. he said andy you got to take these people a little bit. but so i said, well i can get them out of the church away from him and then maybe i can be reasonable with them and get them to reason so we got out we got to the corner. we saw in a clan. we saw the crowd we heard all the noise and i got everybody in a circle to pray. praying that they'd go back to the church. and then some says the hollows be not dismayes things. whatever be tied. god will take care of you. and i said, oh -- these folk
want to march. and my job then became how to let them march without getting anybody killed. and so i kept them on one side of the street and we walked down to where the clan was and then i said you all stay here and i went over by myself and i was i mean i was i thought i was making sense and i was having reaching some of the leaders. to somebody came up behind me. and he hit me with something or other. and but i don't know how long i was i was kicked and beaten for a good little while but when i came willie bolden pulled me up. and i said we can't go back now. we have to go down to the next corner and going down to the next corner and confronting another.
plan group this time when they swung at me i was i was ready to duck and dodge and i didn't get hit. until there was a great big. i mean, i think he's actually six seven. i've met him since oh wow. he came in policemen and see the clan was deputized by the sheriff. to beat us up. but the police in saint augustine really didn't want any clan violence so they didn't want his marching, but this guy stepped in the crowd and said you all get out of the way you fool around and kill one of these people some of these people and none of us want that to happen. and so they let us march on through well. that saturday they wanted to
march in the clan wanted to march in the black community. and we didn't know what would happen because it was mostly the women and children that were leading the marches to teenagers the men did march. they said they couldn't be nonviolent and i went back home and cussed them out for being college, but when the clan came down through, lincolnville it was daytime. but they were initiates and sheets and we had guns under the sheets. and people started singing i love everybody i love everybody in my heart. you can't make me doubt him. because i know too much about him. i got the love of jesus in my heart.
that of the contrast of the violence of the week two three weeks before and the response of people singing a hymn to the clan. i think had an impact. on the senate and that tuesday they passed the civil rights act. shot and i think we i think i have time for one more question. i'm gonna ask you i'm a reporter, you know hank my yes. oh, that's okay. so let me ask you this question before we talk about these images. we're gonna talk we're gonna end on the book because i want to sell the book because my name is on. we have a new mayor in atlanta
in november. we have a national election where the house is in can be flipped and we're on the brink of world war 3. so as a former mayor as a former congressman and a former un ambassador, where do where is atlanta the country and the world going? the hell and no, seriously. i mean believe it or not. i was i was wishing that jimmy carter was president. oh now now, okay, and the reason was that. he and i shared a certain. religious insanity that we believed in the power. of the holy spirit and believed in miracles so just like he believed that he could pass.
the panama canal treaty he believed he could get israel in egypt together. everybody everybody said this man is insane. necessarily put them together and they've been together not a single. israeli has killed an egyptian. was that 50 some years now? nor has any egyptian killed in israeli. but jimmy carter was willing. to think outside the proverbial box i was in i went to congress. same time jimmy. joe biden did if i was as close to joe biden. as i was to jimmy carter. i think joe biden has that same kind of humble. spirit the jimmy carter had only
difference is he's roman catholic and the spirit moves a little slower. give me all my catholic friends, but but i think i mean just the people that have called me. i was talking to the president of former president of nigeria. and i said, you know. you ought to be president now because when south africa had the upper hand and was threatening to destroy africa. jimmy carter and obasanjo went to church together. and jimmy carter got up and read the old testament scripture and said i first heard a nigeria. when i was doing a car wash down in planes.
to send books to a missionary school in nigeria when the president of nigeria gets up to read the new testament scripture, he says i want to thank you mr. president. i was a barefoot boy that had to walk three four miles every day to get to that school, but that's where i learned how to read and write. but that's also where he became. he ended up somehow. being the number one student. in the entire british empire commonwealth engineering school so he was he's brilliant, but he's tough and he's mean and i mean he's anytime there's anything wrong in africa. folks just call him up and send to him. and i mean i was with him in a
situation like this. well, he invited me to come. and i didn't know it was a trap, but it was because we had oil. was rising and south africa was trying to blow up gulf oil and angola. and we had to save gulf oil. without getting the us involved and so i was there in nigeria and he sent for me and he said i need you to sit in our meeting. we're meeting with the president of angola. and i said, what are we going to do? and i said really the state department wouldn't want me to accept sit with him. that'd be breaking protocol. he said the hell would protocol you and my guests and i want you to sit with me. well, what we did was we talked him out of what we talked to him into allowing. it was a gulf oil then.
to increase their gas oil production we would not pay for it. we would put the money in an escrow account. so that after the war between portugal and angola was over. the money would go to whoever won that settlement. and so he got the the president of angola to agree to increase oil production and that's one of the reasons prices came down. not toward the end of the car administration and was that and i was thinking to myself. we could do that right now with venezuela. and we had a young man. who ran for president of venezuela who happened to have a harvard undergraduate degree and really a i a really wonderful guy. he came close.
and they put him in jail for eight years. but he's still in his forties. oh, he's the guy who was here. he was here this week for oh and and i was talking with him about ways that we could increase the oil production of venezuela and let that flow into the market. in exchange of letting the dictators heaven for two more years and then get away with their lives and all they can steal. as coal but it's not bloody. yeah. and i think that those of the kinds of things that i think even it with the worst people.
jimmy carter could find grace and mercy and i think that that's that's what the world really needs now. there can be no winners. so every day in fact, we were almost a little late because we had a call from somebody from montgomery, alabama that got stranded. in ukraine and he and his wife and baby. and they had adopted a three-year-old. ukrainian kid and everybody had a passport, but him. and they trying to figure out how they could get him. back to montgomery, alabama without citizenship. so we were trying to make the rigors of democracy work and we got a we got a response from the state department.
in about 10 minutes. wow, i was amazing see. so i think this is a time when we need a miracle. okay, we need prayer. and but the song that i like i don't feel no ways tired. we've come too far. from where we started from and nobody told us that the way would be easy. but i don't believe he brought us this far. to leave us nothing, that's a great way to close us out. i want to say. thank you, sir. i just want to say one more thing about the book, but those of you who have not bought it have not purchased it now. it's available now at the acapella bookstore still right and it's going to be on sale officially on march 29th, so you
can order it on amazon or new south books, which is a publisher of the book and all your favorite book stores. so please go out and get it if you live here in atlanta. the millennium gate hotel the millennium gate museum has an exhibit the mini lies of andrew young which is based on the book exhibit was put together by donald bermudas. so please go by and check that out pick up the book and if you know one of the things we wrote about this weekend, is that andy young has about seven or eight different monuments in the city of atlanta named after him. so if you're in town stop by those, it'll be a nice little scavenger hunt to find all the places name after andrew young and i don't know where they are including cheese. yes two statues. so that's pretty impressive. so you want to close down you want to find a words. yeah. that this i'm glad you wrote this book because >> i'm glad you wrote this book because my grandchildren now,
really 15 and 12 year old, can read this, and it's not, i mean, they can read it and understand it. and it's not too heavy, it's not too complicated, but the pictures show and a possibly blessed life. i don't know why the lord look down on me and blessed me so, but my grandmother said to have much as been given much will be required to guess that's reason why i'm so hanging around. because there's something else left for me to do. [applause]
>> well, you are blessed and i'm blessed to have done this book. >> the nice thing, ernie mentioned the books that we have in the lobby. the nice thing is they are signed as well. wonderful keepsake of this evening. it is been a five was evening, and ihi think back to the civil rights leaders that we have lost during the last couple of years, whether it's john lewis, jill lowry, hank aaron, he goes on and on, it has been wonderful to spend the evening with the remarkable life of andrew young. these join me in thanking ernie sugs and ambassador young. [applause] >> tv every sunday on c-span2 features leading authors
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the latest in nonfiction books and authors. funding for c-span2 come from these television companies and more including cox. >> homework can be hard but squatting and a diner for internetwork is even harder. that's why we're providing a lower income students access to affordable internet so homework can just be homework. cox connects to compete. >> cox, along with these television companies, supports c-span2 as a public service. >> good in everyone and welcome to p&p live. i am bradley graham, co-owner of politics and prose along with my wife lissa muscatine, and thank you all for shifting with us for this online format. we have been planning as you know to make this an in-person event, covid intervened and fortunately through the wonders of zoom we are still able to go forward and we are thrilled to be presenting valerie biden owens to talk abo
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