Ivan Allen Prize: Andrew Young – Student Town hall


– My name is Leah Miller and
I’m an undergraduate student here at Georgia Tech and the President of the African-American
Student Union here. Of all the opportunities I
have had at Georgia Tech, introducing Ambassador Andrew Young and Ms. Monica Kaufman Pearson
are at the top of my list. I am honored to be here
and I know that everybody here is, as well. As you all know, Andrew
Young has just been presented with Georgia Tech’s
Ivan Allen Junior Prize for Social Courage. Our eighth recipient who
will join other prestigious winners, such as former
President and First Lady, Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter,
humanitarian activist, Nancy Parish, and Congressman John Lewis, to name a few. Upon being selected for the award, Ambassador Young wanted to ensure that the day’s activities,
including the opportunity to interact with students. We look forward to his
wonderful opportunity to engage in insightful dialogue with Ambassador and Ms. Pearson. Andrew Young’s life-long dedication to public service and
civil and human rights helped change the course of history. Over many decades, Young
has been a fearless advocate for racial equality at
home and around the globe and has served, with
honor, as a Congressman, Ambassador to the United Nations, and Mayor of Atlanta. To this day, he continues to
work toward eliminating poverty and hunger and supporting
the next generation of human rights leaders. This is far from the first
time these two famous Atlantans have been together. A few years ago, Ms.
Pearson spoke about a trip that she made to Africa with Mr. Young, calling it, the most
magical thing I’ve ever done in my 37 years of reporting. The name of the series was Africa, Continent of
Possibilities, she recalled. We did a series of reports
and a half-hour special. She also said, and I quote,
Traveling with Andy Young was like traveling with a rock star. But it was also the kind
of story that caused me, and we did a piece on it,
to find out what my roots were and it was extremely touching. Most would agree that Ms.
Pearson continues to be an icon and a rock star on the Atlanta news scene. So now that we have both
of these rock stars here again together, it is
my pleasure to welcome Ambassador Andrew Young and
Ms. Monica Kaufman Pearson. (applause) – Thank you. Well we’ve been talking all day and I’ve been asking questions. Now it’s your turn. Ms. Emma Browning? – [Emma] Sorry, I have a microphone now. – [Monica] Before, tell us your major. – [Emma] I’m an
International Affairs Major, I’m a first year graduate student here. And I was wondering, since you’ve worked in both the human rights sector and in Georgia politics, in general, what you think the biggest
human rights issues are for state and local
governments to address? – I think the basic human rights issue to address anywhere and
everywhere in the world is class. I just read, you know,
they taught me in school, like they taught you that the British sent the pilgrims over here and they were nice, educated,
profound, religious people and they started Plymouth Rock, I mean the constitution in Massachusetts and that became, that
wasn’t all together true. The British wanted to get rid of anybody that wasn’t working and they didn’t know how to create jobs. So, they loaded everybody up on boats and they sent them everywhere in the world to get rid of them, and they
called them White Trash. That was the first attempt
to deal with a class problem. They sent some here to the US and some to Africa, some to Australia and New Zealand and they sent them with little to nothing and then they looked down on them. We were the first ones to kinda shake free of that class stigma, but only after the Second World War. That’s still a problem. I don’t know, looking around, all of you come from,
at least your parents came from somewhere else, maybe. And almost everywhere I know in the world it’s the haves and the have nots. And we, under Franklin Roosevelt, from 1932 to 1944, probably with the New Deal, came closest to putting, well we softened
up the class issue. And when you add to that, the GI Bill. So you had the New Deal, the GI Bill, universal voting rights, public schools giving everybody an equal education or opportunity, that got the United States closer to dealing with the class question than anybody else, but we still had rural and urban and we still have
different heritage and we, well, we haven’t really
solved or resolved, the whole thing about immigration is another aspect of the class problem. The wanting to build up a wall. That’s not, that ain’t even intelligent. I mean, you can’t build a wall and anybody here from Vietnam? Or Asia? We couldn’t beat the Vietnamese, because they were fighting underground. The reason we lost the war in Vietnam was that the Vietnamese
said, we can’t compete with them with their
aircraft and aviation, but their bombs can’t reach us
if we eight feed underground. So there was a network of tunnels under Saigon that like,
you could go from here to the airport underground in Saigon. Or all the way out to Buckhead. They had 500 miles of tunnels underground. And the United States
was fighting in the air. Well they couldn’t compete in the air, but anytime some soldiers
would get on the ground, these little people
would come up somewhere and shoot them down and go back down and you couldn’t find them. And the only thing we had
to sort of defend ourselves with that was, you know, dogs, to try to
sniff the dogs to find out where the tunnels were. But everybody carried a pocket full of capsules of cayenne pepper and they sprinkled that around and once the dogs sniffed pepper. Now that was a underclass nation that defeated the most
powerful nation in the world. And it’s probably a demonstration that class is no indicator of intelligence. Or that people, everybody has some brains and
as they become free enough to use it for their own
benefit and their own freedom, if we don’t respect that freedom
and if we don’t help them to develop that freedom in
a way that it contributes to all of our freedom, we’re gonna end up fighting somebody about something for a long, long time. And it might be race,
it might be religion. How many history majors you got? Anybody studying history? Nobody studying history, well anyway, they probably told you in high school that when they translated the Bible into Latin, you had 500 years of war in Europe on how to read the Bible. And so people can fight about anything. And yet, if we can work
out these differences, and appreciate them, well that happened to be in Germany. Well, when I became Mayor, I
knew something about Germany. And I went to Germany and
invited Lufthansa to fly here. And I said to the German businesses, I said, look, your
businesses are growing faster than Germany’s growing. If you’re gonna be in
business in the 21st century, you’ve gotta be in the US market. And the best place to be in the US market is Atlanta, ’cause we can get
you to 80% of the US market in two hours through our airport. So we invited them to come to Atlanta. And they came. You know how many German companies we have in metropolitan Atlanta now? Over 3,000. And I just saw in the
paper that they employ almost 30,000 people from here and it’s billions of dollars investment. Now that’s been the key
to Atlanta’s success. That we have gone, we’ve
never been restricted by other people’s boundaries and
we’ve never tried to limit people who come in here. If you come in here with any talent. That’s what got us the Olympics. I mean really, it was, nobody here thought we
could get the Olympics ’cause the Olympics was
supposed to go to Athens. But, I see Atlanta different and when I opened the book where all of the
countries that had a vote, we had about 40 of them
that had councilors here and another 25 or 30 that
had investments here. And I said, if we got 65, 70 countries there’re only 85 votes, we can get 55 of those votes. Now, we got 53. But two of the people we counted on, died. And it’s just seeing what you wanna see. And don’t ever believe the conventional wisdom. That’s the best idea so far. Just assume that yours is better. But they’re gonna think you’re stupid. You have to be prepared for that. – Mr. Eric Van Winkle, Undergrad
in Mechanical Engineering, are you here? So the first case we need to remember, let’s work on getting rid of
those things called Class. – [Eric] So, I’d like to ask
a question about politics. Can you talk about how
we can bridge the divide between Republicans and
Democrats in today’s society? – You don’t want to. I think that’s the genius of democracy. I don’t think I have a closer friend, a person I admire than Sam Nunn. We don’t agree. My wife and I, decided, my wife decided, I didn’t decide, she said, listen here, she said, there’s no such thing as one opinion in this family. If there’s a man’s opinion, there’s got to be a woman’s opinion. And we then come together and decide. And if you can’t listen to my opinion, we not gonna stay married. We not gonna even get married, ’cause she laid that
down from the beginning. And then, when our children came along, we wanted, they had rights, too. I had a funny family. My children, when my oldest
daughter went to college, my son was born. So I had children from 20 to 2. And three girls and a boy. And then me and my wife. Any time there was a
discussion in our family, there was six opinions. None of my daughters agreed. My son didn’t agree with
any of my daughters. He didn’t agree with me,
I didn’t agree with him, and a family meeting became like the United Nations. But, you know one of my favorite, one of my favorite
television shows, frankly, is Blue Bloods. And the reason I like Blue Bloods is three generations get around a table. That’s the way the show
ends almost every time and they take on a problem of urban life and each one there’re four generations there, that diversity of opinion. And the reason why, like I
wouldn’t want one’s gospel of Jesus Christ. Matthew’s different from John and it’s sort of like if you, and that’s the way we
ought to look at politics. If we’re standing on four corners and there’s a wreck in the middle, each one of us is gonna
see something different because we’re looking at it
from a different perspective. And the key to democracy is for me to learn from your perspective. If I’m just living by my perspective, that’s a one track mind. But if I can learn from your perspective, I got an additional point of view. But if I can open my mind
enough so that I can be, get all four corners point of view, then I have a more complete
picture of reality. Now if you look at
everything in life like that, we ought to have Democrats and Republican. Bill Foege, who received
this award first, I think, he’s about 6’8″ and I’m about 5’8″. He got a different view than me. (laughing) But that diversity. And actually, when I was in Congress, I had more Republican friends
than I had Democratic friends. I couldn’t learn anything
from the Democrats. I came up the same way they did, if they were black from
a big city, I knew more about the cities than they did, sometimes. But if it was a country
boy from Easton, Kansas in a town of 5,000, he had
a different point of view. And that’s the advantage of this group. One of the things I like to
do with groups like this, we don’t have time, is for you to write down where your
grandparents came from. And if we did that, we would probably have as many countries represented in this room as they have at the United Nations. But we’d be better off
for solving problems than the United Nations, because in addition to having
the diversity of background, we have a commonality of experience being here at Georgia Tech. And that’s the advantage of a university. That you get to meet people, and I’m sure that my interest in Africa is that the smartest guys on my floor were African and they
studied all the time. And I was clowning and carrying on and one of the guys, they
were all bigger than me, one of them grabbed me one day, and said, boy, you’re a bright boy. You might amount to something
if you’d ever get civilized. (laughing) And I said what does it
mean to be civilized. He said a civilized man
should not be running around acting crazy, like you. You should be thinking poetic thoughts and you should be, I mean
he had a whole lot of crap that was okay for Africa. And that was necessary for him. He ended up, well he was the top of our class, but he studied all the time. It takes all kinds to make the world. – But Andy, adding on to his question. You say we need the
four different corners, but the problem, now,
is people will only look at that media that reinforces
their point of view. So how do you break through that? All those people who listen to talk radio, that’s all they listen to. They only see, on Twitter
or Facebook or Instagram or Tumbler, that segment and maybe, could that be why we
have so much division? Because we don’t take the opportunity to look at things different from us? – It certainly is, but it’s more complicated than that. Everybody is insecure. Everybody. Now what is it you’re insecure about? And the things that you’re insecure about, now I’ll give you my virtue. My virtue, in college, was that I wanted, I was on the Track team and Swimming team and I was little and young, and so I couldn’t afford to drink. I mean, I had to have every
advantage that I could have to compete, and so I never touched a drop, I didn’t even drink coffee
and tea and Coca-Cola in college. I was strictly training. Because that was the
only way I could compete. So I didn’t hang around with folk who the girls liked, and I was a nerd. And girls didn’t start liking
me til I got to Congress. (laughing) And then I realized, it
wasn’t me they liked. They liked the idea of
being around a Congressman. So the hell with them. I’m saying, that everybody’s got a lot to be insecure about. I grew up in New Orleans. In New Orleans, there’s
a lot of race mixing. There’s a lot of Creole population. In the group of my family’s friends, I was the darkest one and the only one that had this kind of hair. And they used to say I had bad hair and I was black. Well, I go to here, and I get with a group of black people, and I’m no longer black, I’m light. I’m brown. I mean, the world, the world is always
looking for some way to reinforce the things that
they are insecure about or the things that
they’re different about. The maturation process is to realize, well, the easiest way to
do it and the way I think I was taught to do it was, look. God knew what he was
doing when he made you. And when he put you here. He didn’t put anybody else here. He didn’t make anybody else like you. It’s inconceivable to
conceive of a building without a plan. Anybody in Architecture school? I mean, there’s a place
and a plan for every brick. Every wire, every pipe. Well, if that’s true to
put together a building, the creator of Heaven and Earth had to have a plan for everybody created. And I decided he must
have had a plan for me. ‘Cause I didn’t think I was stupid and I couldn’t imagine anybody
creating me being stupid. But you have to think about yourself. But growing up in my neighborhood, like I said, an Irish
grocery store on one corner, and Italian bar, and the Nazi
party on the third corner Heiling Hitler. And I’m right in the middle. Well I had to learn to deal
with diversity in Kindergarten. To me, that’s the best, that’s the best upbringing possible. I’ve always been challenged. I wasn’t like anybody else,
so I had to figure out who I was. And that’s, you do too. There’s nobody quite like you. No, really. – Darryl Terry,
Undergraduate Public Policy. – Thank you. My Name is Darryl Terry,
II, Public Policy. Also, the Speaker of the House for SGA. I know that you previously
ran for Governor of Georgia in 1990. Can you talk about how
the November election for Georgia’s next Governor is pivotal to the direction of the state? – What’s that? – How the election for Georgia
is pivotal for our state. – Oh, well let me just say that I was running because I felt the Hope Scholarship. I felt like they were
gonna vote for the lottery and I didn’t want a lottery unless it was gonna make education
available for everybody. And that’s the only reason, I didn’t wanna be, I don’t like politics. I mean, I love people,
but I don’t like politics. The guy that I was running
against, I liked very much, and we agreed on a lot of things, even though we were quite different. But the one thing we agreed on, was that he had been grown up very poor in the mountains of Georgia and the only way he got an education was through the GI Bill. And he got his masters and
was a college professor who believed in education. All I wanted was to help, to help him get elected, because he had good connections with the state legislature. He had been Lester Maddox’s
executive assistant so he knew all of the good old boys who would be inclined,
they wouldn’t listen to me, necessarily, but they would listen to him. So I was happy to lose. Now, this election is almost the same thing. Who’s gonna run the state? The big business interest, which I have contributed to. In fact most of the big business interest I helped bring here and I believe in business. But I don’t think business
ought to have it all. Business is a way of
creating jobs for people to be a part of the society. Not to exclude people from the society. And so, business desperately needs highly educated, sensitive people who get along with everybody. I mean one thing about being in an environment such as this, you’re not afraid of anybody different. I finished college and seminary, and I was working for the
National Council of Churches and I went to California, San Francisco, and I’d never been around
a Chinese community before. And I found myself in
the middle of China Town and I saw these little
mandarin dresses, you know, that fit real nice and
silk, and make the ladies look real good, and I said, golly, I need to get one of those for my wife. And I went in to try to get this dress. I needed one a little bigger in the hips, because that’s the difference
between Africa and China. So the lady said, oh I think I have one, and she went back behind
this beaded curtain to get another size and I panicked. And I turned around and I ran out. I didn’t know what got into me. You know what it was? I finally, I mean I was, I was staying at one
of the fanciest hotels, and I walked all the way back ’cause I didn’t know what happened. But, you know what happened? Growing up in New Orleans, Louisiana, all of the movies I ever saw about Chinese were Charlie Chan, Fu Man Chu, it was On A Slow Boat to China and they were taking
you, kidnapping people and they always took them
back behind a beaded curtain. And when the lady went
through the beaded curtain, it triggered all of those
fears and prejudices that I had been stirring up
from seeing these Asian movies, these Asian parodies,
they were not movies. But I panicked. Now, I’ve seen, one of the reasons why Jimmy
Carter won the Presidency. We had a little room, not
much bigger than this stage right behind the House of
Representatives Congress and we had the black caucus was 19 members and we invited all of the
candidates for President to come in and speak to us. Every one of the northern liberals, every one of them who came in was nervous when they got in a room full of 19 black people. And they showed it. They agreed with everything, they couldn’t disagree, I
mean they were visibly uneasy, like I was with the Chinese in the dress shop. Except Jimmy Carter. Jimmy Carter came in, he
didn’t know a single person. But me, and he sat up
there and he disagreed with everything we wanted. I mean he just disagreed. Because most of the black
caucus was from big cities in the north and they were
Dr. Nair left-wing liberals and that wasn’t the way Jimmy Carter was. But the final question,
one he was very at ease, he told them why he disagreed, and then they asked him
how many black people he had on his staff. Now every other person who’d been in there had one black person, except
for the most liberal candidate there, and he was looking for one. And Jimmy Carter said, I don’t know. And they said, well what
the hell are we doing here? Why you come talk to us if you don’t. He said, I’m sure there’s
some black people on the staff I just don’t know how many. And so I went to the door
and I got the young fellow who was traveling with him and I said, how many black people do you all have on the staff for President
Carter, Governor Carter? He said, well right now we just have 27. Now all of the northerners had one. Jimmy Carter had 27. They said, well what do they do? They do everything any other, they raise funds, they knock on doors, they’re in the research division, everything in a campaign that anybody did, there was somebody different doing it. And I remember, in one
of the staff meetings, they said do you have any corrections, I mean anything we can do
to improve this campaign? Well I’m very sensitive to differences. And I said Governor, we got a big problem. He said, what’s that? He said, we got plenty of
people who are different here. I said no. You have black people and white people and you have Jews, you have people from the Middle-East. But we don’t have anybody
in this campaign hierarchy whose name ends in a vowel. Now, that means Italian,
Polish, I mean almost all of the middle Europe,
you’d end up with people whose name ends in vowels. And that was missing. But we didn’t have that kind of division. We didn’t know about those divisions. In fact, a lot of people who
come from Mediterranean area with vowels naturally ending their name anglicized their names
and dropped the vowel. So we’re not sensitive to that, but because I had been around big cities, particularly around New York, Guiliani, almost every mayor of New York- – Cuomo. – Almost every mayor in New
York name ends in a vowel and if you don’t have
somebody who has a name ending in a vowel,
you’re missing something in your operation. And that’s the way, we have to think of
diversity as a strength. – Jonathan Valdez, Undergrad
in Mechanical Engineering. – Thank you for speaking. I have a question about, if social media had been as prevalent as it is today, how would you have used it as a tool to influence change? Throughout your career? – You have to remember that, well one, you should never
answer hypothetical questions. (laughing) – And why is that? – Because they can always, what you say can always be reinterpreted. And if you’re in public life, just never answer a hypothetical question. You don’t know, I don’t know. But it’s a challenging thought. But because I got an
iPhone and I can’t get it, I can’t get Siri to answer me. (laughing) I was doing alright with the eight, but somebody gave me a 10 and
I haven’t been right since. (laughing) – He can’t answer a hypothetical. – But I think, what I’m
trying to find out now, and you could help me with, I’m old. My last birthday I was 86. I graduated from college in 1951 and I still got some time left, I think. I mean, my mind is usually clear. I guess I’m making sense or
y’all wouldn’t be sitting here. And so, whatever I have, I
have, it’s not in my knees anymore, I wore my knees out. But my mind is still pretty clear. I’m trying to figure out
how to use social media. I would like to talk to
a group of young people, like this, every day of my life about anything you wanted to talk about. – Facebook Live. – But see, I don’t, I’m afraid of that. I’m afraid of that because, well I see you and I know who you are and we’re in this context. But now, I’m also a minister. And I’m also a liberal Democrat. I’m also a number of other things. If I say something on Facebook, all of these constituencies are, I mean, well let me be honest with you, the thing we did most, to relax
and get to know each other in the Congress, when everybody came back from the weekend and we, then, end up in the Cloak Room, and drinking, have a Coke and a hotdog, almost like the varsity
behind the Congress, but everybody brought their dirty jokes. And they bring dirty jokes
from all over the country. And we’d gather back there,
’cause there was certain people who I don’t, would come up
with the craziest jokes. But that was the way that group of men related to each other. Now-a-days, you’d lose your job for saying some of the things we said. Social media is not tolerant enough. – I agree with you on that. I don’t know if you ever
watch some of the late shows or even look at Steve Harvey, but yesterday he had a young woman on who took all of the negative comments that were made about her on social media and turned it into a song, and responded. And Steve Harvey, live,
she would read the tweet that was very negative,
and then he would answer it in song. It was very interesting to see, but who has a suggestion,
’cause if he doesn’t wanna use Facebook Live, which
would make sense to me. – Well I’ve done it and,
like New Year’s Day, this year, I hadn’t even
had anything to drink. But all my children were around and I was feeling
philosophical and pontifical, as I can get late at night, and I started sounding
off about something, the state of the world, and somebody put an iPad up in front of me and said, do you mind if I record this, I said no, help yourself. And I kept on going and
then all of a sudden, there were some people writing
something on the bottom. I said, what is that? He said, you’re streaming live. I said, what is streaming live? He said, other people
are listening to you. And I said, like who? And he pointed to a little number up in the corner of his iPad and it said 23,000, I said huh? (laughing) You don’t know who you’re gonna offend. – Now wait a minute, you are saying you don’t
know who you’re gonna offend? – No, I didn’t know, no. – Andy
– no I didn’t know- – I have known you for almost 40 years and you have never cared
about who you offended with your comments. – No, but that’s when I was, when I was with, I mean you have a relationship with me, you know I’m not crazy. But there’s some things I’ve said that you could take out of context. I’ll give you a good example. I lost an election, this
is one of the reasons. I was running for
Congress, the first time, and the police went into
Fred Hampton’s apartment in Chicago. Now, Fred Hampton was
a young college student who decided to call himself a Black, member of the Black Panther party. He was probably no more liberal, in fact, he was probably
much more conservative than any of you all, ’cause this was 40
years ago, 50 years ago. But for anybody to be that, that was considered radical then. And because he didn’t
mind where he said it, he scared a lot of white police in Chicago and they kicked the
door down into his room. He was in his bed sleeping,
they machine gunned him. Somebody asked me what I thought of that and I was mad, and I said
this is a brilliant kid. He had some crazy ideas, but give him five more years to think, give him a couple of years to study, and you had a great leader. I mean he was highly motivated, very intelligent, but he was a threat because of that, and
they machine gunned him, and so I was mad and
I let that anger show. My opponent put out, seemed like a million hand bills with my picture on it, looking mean and I was in Mississippi,
and I hadn’t shaved and I was in a demonstration where, walking kids to school, and they had taken these kids to school on the way to school and the
Klan folk had thrown them into the, I mean these were five and six year old kids that men were beating up and throwing into plate-glass windows
and things like that. So I went back there, later, with Dr. King and we walked them to school. And I was kinda mad and looking mad, but I was really not feeling mad, I was trying to get the
little boy I was carrying, who was scared, not to be afraid and I was telling him, no don’t look away, don’t look down, look at
them straight in the eye. Which one of them, do you remember which one of them hit you the day before yesterday? He said, yeah, I said, look
at him right in the eye. And I was staring and looking mean. Well they took that picture, which had been in the New York Times, they cut the little boy out and it was just me and a mean stare and they put under the bottom, if Andrew Young is
elected, the Black Panthers are gonna get your daughter. I mean, and that’s the kinda world I grew up in. So that’s the reason I’m
still a little nervous because I don’t know. Now, I like Steven Colbert. But I sometimes feel sorry for Trump. I mean he’s too hard on him. You know, I met Trump and Trump, Trump’s got a lot of problems, but I’ve decided his problem is that I never heard him
talk about a mother. And every great man I know was very close to his mother. I mean all of us, the more sensitive and progressive you are, the more you’ve had feminine nurture. And he hadn’t had it, except, I mean he’s close to his daughter. But, I never hear him
talk about his mother. Jimmy Carter’s thick with his mother. Bill Clinton is a momma’s boy. Laura Bush raised five boys, all of them great. Not Laura, but- – Barbara
– Barbara Bush. Great lady. Franklin Roosevelt’s mother
followed him to college and got an apartment near Harvard so she could look out for him. General MacArthur, another momma’s boy. I mean great men always
seem to have great mothers. That’s why they say the
hand the rocks the cradle rocks the world. It’s complicated life and social media makes it more accessible, but I don’t know the rules and regulations and I haven’t adjusted to it yet. But I also know that there is no truth without controversy. I don’t know that, but I should know it, Frederick Douglas, people who want progress
without turmoil want the ocean without it’s mighty roar. – Can’t have one without the other. But we’re gonna have to work
on you and social media. – I wanna be, I wanna find a way, because it’s, I mean in the first place I’m old enough and I don’t care what
anybody thinks of me. I don’t want anything. – Podcast, what about a podcast? – I don’t even know what that is. – Yeah, you can do a podcast. Well, you would sit in
front of a microphone and just like you’re talking with them, you would tell a story and a life lesson to go with it and you could even take their questions and you would record it for a certain amount of time and then you could have your podcast on Georgia Public Broadcasting. You could have it even
as your own website. – You know what we did? Now one thing I did do with social media. We had 50 African students here. The Young African Leaders Organization. And we had them all over at Coca-Cola. Well Coca-Cola’s all over the world. So they were, they wanted to broadcast it. But I said we can broadcast it, but not just me, broadcast
the students also. And so we had a number of cameras set up and they were gonna send the message back to their countries. I think, of the 50 students,
there are 54 countries in Africa, we probably
had 30 countries in Africa represented and we had
about a two hour discussion. Well they put it all
together and sent it back through the Coca-Cola network and I still haven’t seen it. But it was very, very challenging to me, because these were the
Young African Leaders, these were people who’d
been out of school, into government for a year or two. And we had a very frank,
candid conversation. But with young people, I’m a conservative. I was always, they were always telling me what’s wrong and
complaining about something and I’m trying to give them the good side. But when I’m with old people, it’s hard to get somebody older than me, but there are conservative old, there are people who think older than me. And I can say some things
to them that are just, they’re flabbergasted that I could think something like that. – I think a podcast is
what you need to do. Wouldn’t you all agree? I think we need to get
you a podcast together. Chelsea Burks, Undergraduate,
Business Administration. You would like doing a
podcast, you really would. – Hi, so first I wanna say thank you for being here and thank
you for your service. My question, I guess, is
kind of a hypothetical, so I hope you can answer it. But if you had a piece of advice or words of affirmation
that you could give to your younger self, what would it be? – Well, – You gotta tell the one
about don’t get angry. – Oh yeah, no I think
that my father told me, and that’s probably,
don’t get mad, get smart. That if you lose your temper and if you get emotional, especially with your wife, don’t ever let a woman make you upset. She’s always right. Say, yes dear, I’m sorry. And you get along happy. But if you start arguing with a woman, you’re gonna get in trouble, and you’re gonna lose. See, I’ve never seen no place else. She’s married to a police captain. All kinds of guns. But he ain’t won an argument in that house since they married. – It’s yes dear, whatever you say dear. He calls it marriage maintenance. – Yeah, that’s right. But I’m saying that that’s, I’ve been wanting to tell this story. And this is the kind
of story I need to tell but might get me in trouble. My first assignment
with Martin Luther King was in Albany, Georgia in 1961 and he was in jail and I had to go in jail and visit him. He was gonna be in jail for 14 days. And he said, Andy, you stay out, but I want you to come in and report to me at least once a day and
if something comes up, come in the morning and the evening. I said, yes sir. So I go into the jail and there’s this great,
big, burly police sergeant, weighed about 300 pounds, and he was looking down. And I said, excuse me
sir, but I’d like to see Dr. King and Reverend Abernathy and he didn’t look up. He said, there’s a little nigger out here that wants to see them
big niggers back there, what do I do? I said, oh shit. To myself. And somebody said, send him back. He said go on back. So I went back and I told him, I said, you know what he told me? And I told him. And Ralph Abernathy said,
why didn’t you jump across the desk and slap him? And he was kidding. I said, ’cause he was 300 pounds, and he had a stick and a gun. So Martin said, look,
that’s not my problem. My problem is back here. Your problem is to get
back here every day. Don’t bring me your troubles, I got enough troubles in jail myself. So when I went out, I noticed his name. And I called him by name. I said thank you very
much, Sergeant Hamilton. And every day I came in, the next day I came in, I said, how you doing
today, Sergeant Hamilton, before he could see me. He said, Oh I’m all right, I’m fine. And I started talking, I said, look. You must have played football someplace. And he turned out, he’s
from Valdosta State. So we talked about football
for about 10 or 15 minutes. I mean, I let him talk
about his growing up and why he didn’t, he wanted to go pro, and I listened to his life story for 10 minutes, and then I said, oh, may I see Dr. King? He said, oh yeah go on back. And every day, I went in there, and then he was going fishing somewhere so we talked about fishing one day. That went on for 14 days and I never had another incident. Now, that was 61, in 76, Jimmy
Carter appointment me to the UN and some friends of mine, in Maine, said that you shouldn’t go to the UN with a campaign debt. If you can come up here and make a speech, we can raise enough money to wipe out your campaign debt, so I did that. And so I go up in Maine
and I make a speech for a whole lot of big money folk. Why are you talking about campaign debt, then when I get through, this tall skinny guy in a green jacket like
he’d just won Augusta and white flannel pants
and white buck-skin shoes. I mean he was like a New
England man of dignity and honor and old school New England. And he came up to me and shook my hand and he said, you don’t
remember me, do you? I said, where did we meet? He said, in the Albany jail. He said, I’m Sergeant Hamilton. And he said, when you all left, I realized that I didn’t want my children growing up like I did and I found an ad in the paper for, they were looking for a
security guard up here in Maine, probably up there where the Bush’s, you know where the real rich folk go, and he said I loaded up my kids in my car and we drove up here and I
started out as a security guard. He said, now I’m in charge of
security for the whole region and he said, my children are
in some of the best schools in the world, he said, he paid
to come and hear me speak. He said, I really wanted
to come to thank you. He said, because when you left, I realized that I didn’t want my children to grow up like I had and I brought them up here. And so, I have seen changes happen like that. And I’ve been, when I went to South
Africa as an ambassador, I knew Mandela, and I knew Bishop Tutu and I knew all the black folk. But the State Department
didn’t want me to meet with the white folk. I said, but that’s my job. They said, but you don’t
wanna talk to them. These are dangerous people. I said, so? And I said, well who is
the most dangerous one? Which one is the one you
have the most trouble with? Well it was PW Botha who
was the Defense Minister. And I said, see if he will see me. You don’t wanna see him, do you? I said, yeah. President Carter told me
to ask African leaders what they expected of this administration. I said, he didn’t say just
ask the black African leaders. He said ask African leaders. So the guy, Minster Botha said he would meet with me but only by myself, nobody coming. I said, that’s fine with me. They said, you’re not afraid? I said, well he can’t
do nothing but kill me. And if he was gonna kill me, he wouldn’t kill me in his office. So, I mean, you don’t ever fear and you think and when I went in there, he asked me three questions. Why did white people vote for you? He knew that I had been in Congress. And I said, I don’t know, but I said, they realized we were
gonna have to live together and that I got along with people as well as anybody else,
so they just thought they’d try it out with me. He said ugh. He said how much intermarriage you have? Are black people marrying white people? I said, occasionally. But I said, I really don’t know, not much. Surprisingly little, I think. And then the third
question was the real one. How long do you think we have before there’s a bloodbath? I said, what bloodbath? He said, surely these black
people are gonna rise up one day and kill us all. And that was his fundamental fear. He wasn’t that bad, he was afraid. And I said, well I don’t
think that’ll ever happen. I said, first place, the
African National Congress was formed about the same
time that Gandhi formed the Indian National Congress, in Africa. I said, Gandhi went back to India and I said they freed India
from British Colonialism and I said, I don’t think, I never heard of a single Englishman getting killed. And I said, President Carter grew up in an area like South Africa, his
county was 80% black and I said, the reason he sent me here was to ask if you wanna
avoid what you fear and wanna develop a democracy
and free enterprise, our administration would like to help you. And that’s what started the independence of South Africa. But then the African
leaders were very smart, smarter than us. They said, no, we don’t wanna
start with South Africa. We wanna start with Zimbabwe and Namibia and that will give the
South Africans a chance to get to know us and
it’ll be a lot easier to settle South Africa
if we take on Namibia and Zimbabwe first. And so, you find that almost everywhere, leaders are human beings and if we
quit treating them like something to fear, and try to
get to their basic humanity, you can get along with almost anybody. – Our last question
comes from Eden Tasima, Undergrad in Public Policy. Eden? – [Eden] Hello, hello, can you hear me? – Speak up a little louder. – My name is Eden Tasima, and I’m a Public Policy
major, an undergrad. My question to you, Ambassador Young, you along with Martin Luther King, Jr were known for fighting for social justice by means of peaceful protest, and it’s something that you’re
admired for, to this day. But why do you think that others who use the same approach, like Colin Kaepernick, for example, receive negative feedback? – Who’s that? – Colin Kaepernick. The football player who can’t get a job because he started kneeling
during the National Anthem. – Well. The protests to be most effective, well
let me start positively. I think sports have been the major basis for
desegregation in the south. Politicians have done a little bit, Martin Luther King had
done a little bit, but, when Herschel Walker
made Georgia number one, everybody in Georgia loved Herschel. That wasn’t true when Martin Luther King won the Nobel Prize. Sport is one of the unifying features of our society. Hank Aaron coming here to play baseball made all the difference in the world. ‘Cause he made the Braves a player. I mean, a national contender. I don’t, I mean it’s, Nike has come to his rescue. But, I would rather not have protests on the playing field. And the reason is that, it’s one thing for track sports. Track is an individual sport. But I was in Congress with Jack Kemp. And Jack Kemp was probably, it
was a conservative republican but, he had no racial
insecurities, whatsoever. And I asked him, I said Jack, I said you’re one of the
few white people I know you ain’t got a racist bone in your body. And he said, Andy, there
were five black guys that blocked for me, he was quarter back for the Buffalo Bills. He said, if I had had a
racist bone in my body, all they had to do was let a shoulder slip and that racist bone
would have been broken. And he said, I had to work
out all my race problems, ’cause if I was gonna succeed, I couldn’t succeed without these four guys blocking for me. And because football is a team sport, I think he put his teammates in a, you know, it’s the whole team. I really like his quarter backing, and I wish he’d studied his playbook, and I mean he’d be a great back up for Matt Ryan. A running quarterback or
the passing quarterback. I mean he has a role as an athlete. Now I went to South
Africa with Arthur Ashe but we understood that we were going, not to make any political protests, but the most powerful
protest he could make was with his tennis racket. In a white man’s sport in
the whitest white country in the world, for him to
go down there and play and let black people see
that he can hold his own with the best white people in the world, I mean that’s where I got
my sense of racial security. I figured I could outrun everybody, ’cause Jesse Owens could outrun everybody. I was short, but I could grab the rim even though I couldn’t dunk. It was sports that helped me develop my self confidence and my self image. But, none of those, Jackie Robinson, Hank Aaron,
none of them did anything controversial while they
were playing their sport. Their sport was the
message that made everybody love them and that pulled
the country together and that kept their teams together. And to this day, they are
the most loved people we got. Even Mohammad Ali and Joe Lewis. But to put that protest,
however peaceful it was, on the field, I mean, wasn’t cool. And when you have somebody
looking for a fight, like President Trump, he took it on and now, the real issue for
National Football League coming up now is, they’re about to bargain for their player’s contract. The players against the owner. It’s got nothing to do
with police getting killed and no, he was with the San Francisco 49ers. No 49er, no San Francisco
policeman had shot anybody. It’s like the folk who
wanted to march here that Black Lives Matter. I appreciate the need to march, but I worked for 20 years to desegregate our police force and we hadn’t killed anybody, except in self defense. So why are you gonna protest
people who are doing right? Just because you can see it on television. And so I think you have to be, you have to target your protest and you have to have it as closely related to the problem as possible. I would much rather he
take a bunch of his guys, ’cause see, police are afraid, particularly these big athletes
that they have to run into. But I would rather he had
gone to a police precinct and take them all out for a beer and they get to know each other. It’s hard being a police officer. And you don’t know, the first problem I had
in the police, as Mayor, Officer Cameron, in Sears Robuck a guy, black guy went crazy. The black policeman who
was trying to calm him down was calming him down, talking to him, in the daytime in Sears Robuck
and then all of a sudden, something distracted him and
he shot him right in the face. And it is hard being a police officer. You gotta show them some
support and sympathy, too. I made sure that our police
officers get good wages ’cause they don’t need to be underpaid and take out their
frustrations on a citizen. But I let them know
that part of my ability to get them an increase
in wages meant that we had to have good police/community relations. So we used to have our police officers go to visit schools, churches, in uniform. But in schools, we’d have
them working with the kids with police athletic league shirts. And get to know the kids,
’cause most of these kids don’t have fathers in their lives and they need the support
of a strong, wise man. And most of our policemen are pretty good. – Well ladies and gentlemen. I will give you a little fact
some of you may not know. Georgia’s first US Black Congressman was elected in 1872, he came from Macon, his name was Jefferson Franklin Long. The next 100 years later,
yes, 100 years later, it was Andrew Young and
he has made his mark, not just in civil rights and government, but, he’s made his mark,
also, by what he does in the community when he’s
not being the Congressman or the Mayor, he gives back. He has always urged people
to register to vote, and I’m not gonna embarrass
anybody in this room. But many of your questions
that you raised today got me wondering how many of
you are registered to vote? How many of you, if you don’t live here, are registered in your home community, and if there is an election coming up, have you gotten an absentee
ballot for November? It is one thing to complain. It is another thing to get involved. It was Shirley Chisholm who said, don’t agonize, organize. That’s what this man
has done all his life. But he needs someone to pick up the medal. Remember, they were young when
they started the movement. Not much older than you. As a matter of fact, John Lewis
would have been their age. – That’s right. – So, if nothing else, you’ve talked to, you’ve seen, you’ve heard
this piece of living history. But my only question to you is, are you gonna make the next election an important one? Are you going to decide
what your place will be in history? I’m so sorry you didn’t
hear him speak this morning. Because he really thinks you students, here at Georgia Tech, are the answer to Africa. – Because it’s the largest
economy in the world that’s underdeveloped. And they have all of the raw materials, I mean everything the
world needs is in Africa. But, we haven’t, right now I think that the Chinese are kind of exploiting it a little bit. Well, they’re taking the minerals and they’re building
roads and doing things that are good, but they’re
not teaching people how to do it for themselves. But that’s okay. – And here you are in this
very diverse community where you work very well as a team, I’m making an assumption there. We leave you with that thought. You can make a difference in the world. You can make a difference
on the continent of Africa. – Can I ask you to do something else? One of the things that worries me, it has worried me since I was in college, the first semester I was in college, I went to summer school at University of Southern California, I was the only black
student on the campus. Nobody spoke to me all summer long. Then I went back to Howard University, where everybody was black, and still, nobody spoke to me. You know, and there was
nothing wrong with me, but people are so lonely and self absorbed and insecure that they don’t reach out to other people, but
everybody needs a friend. And so, I started, on my
own, speaking to people and it was a way, it was
a sneaky way of flirting. ‘Cause I’d always speak to the girls and say you’re looking very nice today. It’s too bad you don’t like colored people and won’t speak to me. (laughing) And it was an all black campus. And when I go to Georgia State, I’m petrified, ’cause that’s
too many students in one, the classes are too big and I, when they start introducing me, I usually stop them, I say, look. They can figure out who I am. Do you know the person next to you? You know the person, do
you know who that is? Do you know who that is next to you? You know him? You all four know each other. But on the way out, speak
to somebody you don’t know. And make a friend that’s a little different, okay. We have the capacity
to make the whole world make sense. Now one of the reasons
I’m so hooked on Africa, is those African students
that lived with me, I mean lived in the same section as me in the dormitory, studied all the time and they were always raising hell with me ’cause I was clowning and
I wasn’t a serious student. But we developed a respect, and I still, they’re still
the leaders in Africa. In fact, a classmate of
mine from Howard University in the 1940s, his son, from Nigeria, just bought Gatwick
Airport from the British for $2.5 billion. It wouldn’t be bad to know
some people like that, would it? If I run into him, I’m gonna say, you know your daddy was my classmate. – Thank you all for being here. Let’s give a round of applause
to Ambassador Andrew Young. (applause)

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