Close friend of Martin Luther King Jr. speaks in Albany - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Close friend of Martin Luther King Jr. speaks in Albany

January 15, 2007

Albany--Andrew Young spoke to the "Stolen Girls" and others in attendance at tonight's ceremony.

The former United Nations ambassador and Atlanta mayor was one of Dr. King's closest aides.

Decades after his fight for peace, justice, and equality for everyone, civil rights activist Andrew Young remembers the struggle he and others led to get the country where we are today.

"We had some pretty rough experiences at times. People did suffer and people did lose their lives," says Young.

In an era when racism thrived and segregation was alive and well, Young and the late Dr. Martin Luther King Junior fought for equality.

"He was a great satirist and joke teller but in the moment of truth he was willing to stand up and give his life.  He was a brilliant man who read a lot, who prayed a lot, who was very much aware that this could cost him very much his life," he says.

At times their peaceful demonstrations cost them jail time---but Young knows hard times brought positive changes to the country.

"I went to jail over in Savannah and in Atlanta.  I got beat up in St. Augustine.  When you look at the changes that we have incurred, mostly for the better, it was a very small sacrifice to pay," says Young.

Young worked with King closely right up to the very end. He was in Memphis with King during the day of his assassination. He was only 39.

"He always said we probably won't make it to 40.  Death was not something he feared or we feared. It was something that was in evitable and the only thing you can determine is what you die for," says Young.

Although, it's been nearly 40 years since King's death, his message of hope, peace and unity leaves on.

"People coming together to celebrate his vision some thirty plus years later, I think he would be very pleased," says Young.

And Despite his passing, Young will always live out the dream the two men shared for a better world filled with harmony.

Young first came to south Georgia in 1955 where he pastored a church in Thomasville.  He was part of the Albany Movement with Dr. King back in 1961.

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