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Family of hit and run victim speaks on his life in Southwest Ga.

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Published: Apr. 28, 2022 at 7:31 PM EDT
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) -72-year-old Samuel Young died Tuesday night when a car struck him in a crosswalk on East Oglethorpe Road just before 9 p.m. His family describes a man who made a lasting impact in Southwest Georgia.

Young’s family says he was a great activist for the Black community in Southwest Georgia and hopes to see his contributions live on beyond his death.

Tuesday's hit and run victim has since been identified as 72-year old Samuel Young. His family describes a man who made...

Posted by Gabrielle Taite WALB on Thursday, April 28, 2022

Police say the driver who hit him was under the influence and drove away from the scene. The driver was later arrested.

Young’s loved ones are still processing their grief, but they’re also reflecting on his life as well as his many contributions to the community.

72-year-old Samuel Young pictured with family and friends.
72-year-old Samuel Young pictured with family and friends.(Demetrius Young)

Erma J. Young-Wilburn was married to Young for 14 years. She says that he took part in the Civil Rights Movement when he was just a kid.

He was even interviewed by the Library of Congress about his experiences growing up in the segregated south.

“He was a teenager when he joined the movement, and he was one of the printers for the Southwest Georgia projects print shop,” Wilburn said. “They printed pamphlets and posters, you know. Anything they had to have to get the word out when they were doing voter registration, any kind of marches or sit-ins. The print shop was very active and a very central part in all of that movement.”

Besides fighting for equality, one of Young’s many passions was uplifting and educating other Black people. Young is one of 17 children who all graduated from the Worth County School System. Wilburn says he passed this sense of determination onto others and that many people have reached out to their families during this time as a result.

The family of Samuel Young. They say he was very active in the Civil Rights Movement right here...
The family of Samuel Young. They say he was very active in the Civil Rights Movement right here from Southwest Georgia.(WALB)

“He was very much involved,” she said. “He taught his children to be involved, and he also was someone who young men, young Black men, in particular, gravitated towards. He had an open, fatherly kind of behavior that they were drawn to. It’s a huge loss. Not just for our family, but to many other families.”

Wilburn says she has no ill will towards the accused driver and would like for people to learn from this situation.

“I’m sure that he would want his community to get better and things like this. Any kind of violence- anything that causes death, unexpected. Deaths like this. Everybody has to die, but we don’t have to die at the ages that we’re dying at,” Wilburn said. “I think his whole thing is just to promote healthier people. A better people.”

Samuel Young (right) hanging out outside.
Samuel Young (right) hanging out outside.(Demetrius Young)

His family wants people to always remember to stay active and fight for equality as Young once did. Another one of Young’s family members tells me that Young greatly impacted his life.

“From a young man’s perspective, watching him and listening to his stories, it keeps me engaged right now,” he said. “If we could just spread that to one or two people, let’s get back engaged. Let’s move away from some of those things that make us expire at ages that don’t make any sense. Tragedies like this, I’ll just say this, he was my inspiration. He was the reason why I had success in life.”

Funeral services for Young will be held Saturday, May 7, at Greater 2nd Mt. Olive Baptist Church, 102 Dewey Street in Albany. The burial will be at Mt. Zion Cemetary in Oakfield, Highway 300 just inside the Worth County line, following the funeral services.

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