In celebration of Black History Month, Georgia-Pacific employees were treated to a first-hand history lesson from American legend, former United Nations Ambassador Andrew Young. A distinguished spokesman and public figure, he recites his take on Atlanta history.
Ambassador Young, speaking to a gathering of Georgia-Pacific employees, recalled his experiences in Atlanta’s development as a global city, the early days of the Civil Rights movement, and serving as the United States’ first African-American ambassador to the U.N. during the Jimmy Carter administration. He captures many of these stories in his latest book, Andrew Young and the Making of Modern Atlanta.
“We’ve gone from a city too busy to hate, to an international city, to an Olympic city, to the city of peace,” Young told the group. “You can’t think of a better example for the world in which we live. We’re a city where not only does Martin Luther King have a dream but everybody here has a dream and we are able to bring those dreams together.”
As a young civil rights leader and confidant to Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., he joined the fight against racial segregation in the South and was a major witness to historical milestones along the way, including helping to draft the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Consequently, he helped spark the transformation of Atlanta from a growing city in the south to a booming metropolis.
He later became Georgia’s first African-American Congressman since reconstruction, U.N. ambassador, and then returned to Atlanta to serve two terms as mayor. In the early 1990s, he joined other civic and business leaders as co-chair of the city’s effort to secure and host the Centennial Olympic Games in 1996.
Ambassador Young’s contributions to Atlanta’s history and accomplishments helped put the city on the map for global success and as a model for a diverse and vibrant community.
Ambassador Young summarized it best, “there’s something spiritual about people learning to live together as brothers and sisters rather than perish together as fools.”
The values of Georgia-Pacific are heavily influenced by leaders such as Ambassador Young, sharing a common goal of diversity and inclusion in the workplace and the world.