In MLK’s inner circle, Young was the refined diplomat. The Howard University graduate and pastor grew up in New Orleans as the affluent son of a dentist and schoolteacher. As he himself has said, Young was the one King sent to talk with white officials and business leaders. First as a civil rights leader, then a politician, and finally as an entrepreneur, educator, and philanthropist, Young has been an effective, altruistic statesman—though not without controversy. Most famously, he had to resign as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations after meeting with the banned Palestinian Liberation Organization.
Media Savvy This year Young accepted a Trustees Emmy Award for Lifetime Achievement for his prolific television career, which began with an inspirational variety show in 1957 and continues with his Andrew Young Presents documentary series. He also recently cofounded Bounce TV, a network with black-targeted programming to premiere this fall.
This article originally ran in the May 2011 issue