‘YOUNG’ AT HEART: Civil Rights Icon, Ambassador, Political Giant Shares Experiences,
Insights, and Wisdom with Eager Elementary Students
Any opportunity to be in the presence of a historical icon is rare. When it is the legendary Andrew Young, it’s almost surreal for anyone who understands his enormous impact on generations of grateful Americans as a political leader, ambassador, and civil rights icon.
As part of its Black History Month Celebrations, staff and students at Montgomery Elementary School welcomed Ambassador Young to speak and answer questions. Remarkably, his visit all began with a simple request from a parent.
“I never turn down an invitation to go to a school,” he said.
For over an hour, Ambassador Young shared stories from his remarkable life and answered questions ranging from his childhood, his time as mayor of Atlanta, and other personal exchanges with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., whom he said loved to joke with his friends.
He also talked about his relationship with former President Jimmy Carter after learning that Carter’s great-grandson, Charlie, is a current student at Montgomery Elementary.
“Your great-grandfather is a great man,” Ambassador Young told Charlie.
Montgomery Elementary Principal Dr. Lori Bolds said it was an incredible privilege to have Ambassador Young visit.
“As an African-American Studies minor in college, it’s truly an honor to have him here. To know that he was instrumental in writing the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, he is a living legend,” Dr. Bolds said.
Dr. Bolds said she hopes her students will reflect on this unique opportunity and grasp the importance of civil rights heroes’ sacrifices and impacts.
“Often, history is made by extraordinary individuals doing what’s necessary to help improve the human condition, as is the case with Ambassador Young,” she said. “When we study and celebrate their legacy, we can better understand and appreciate what they accomplished.”
She summed up the visit beautifully.
“It was an unbelievable privilege to personally thank Ambassador Young for his lifetime of inspired leadership that continues to resonate in our lives today.”