Friday, October 12, 2001

Lecturer stresses cooperation in U.S.

By Randy Tucker
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Andrew Young, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, reminded a packed house Thursday night at Music Hall that it took the cooperative efforts of both blacks and whites to abolish slavery in America and pass civil rights legislation.

        He suggested the same cooperation will be necessary to ensure that U.S. citizens continue to enjoy freedoms that he described as “uniquely American.”

        "We forget how the progress and prosperity we enjoy is the result of all of our efforts,” Mr. Young said. “We (blacks) have never been alone in the struggle.”

        The lecture was the third in the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center's Theodore M. Berry series on public policy and human rights.

        The Berry lecture series is endowed with a major gift from Cincinnati Bell and Convergys Corp.

        The event was held on the one-month anniversary of the terrorist attacks on America, and included a moment of silence to honor those who died in the attacks.

        Mr. Young — a member of the Freedom Center's advisory board who also has served as an anti-terrorism adviser to President Bush — also suggested the terrorist attacks could be viewed in the same light as slavery.

        In both cases, he said, ideology was the real enemy.

        Abolitionists “hated slavery, not white people,” Mr. Young said. “These people (terrorists) do not represent Islam, any more than the Ku Klux Klan represents Christianity.”

"Struggle is worldwide'

        Mr. Young, who in 1972 became the first black congressman from Georgia to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives since the Reconstruction era, said the struggle for freedom is worldwide.

        He said Americans can never fully enjoy their freedoms until the rest of the world joins them: “We cannot be free unless we're willing and able to share that freedom with the entire planet Earth.”

        Mr. Young began his quest for freedom in August 1957, when he joined the executive staff of the Youth Division, National Council of the Churches of Christ USA in New York.

Working for civil rights

        He joined Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in 1961 and helped organize the March on Washington in 1963.

        Mr. Young worked on the passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964, and in 1965 helped to get the Voting Rights Act passed.

        He also helped to organize the Poor People's Campaign in 1968.


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