Andrew Young came to Atlanta in 1961 to work with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) after serving as a pastor in Thomasville and leading voter registration drives. Young became a trusted aide to SCLC President Martin Luther King Jr., eventually serving as executive director of the prominent civil rights organization.
While in that position, Young helped draft the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Young won election in 1972 to the U.S. House of Representatives from Georgia’s Fifth District as the first African American from Georgia elected to Congress since Reconstruction. Young was twice reelected and in 1977 President Jimmy Carter appointed him ambassador to the United Nations.
In 1981, Andrew Young won election as Atlanta’s mayor, serving two terms through 1989. In 1987, he joined local businessman Billy Payne to develop a bid for the 1996 Summer Olympics. As co-chair of the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games, he was instrumental in promoting Atlanta as an international city. Today, this civil rights icon and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom advocates for human rights and economic development of poverty-stricken areas around the world.