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The Multicultural Vision of Andrew Young

In 1967, Andrew Young became the Executive Vice President for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC).  Add biographical information parallel in length and substance to Jackson story: education, ministry, public service, civil rights activism.

In 1970, while simultaneously and unsuccessfully running for a Democratic seat in Congress, he became Chair of the Atlanta Community Commissions Relations.  In this position he worked closely with residents of Atlanta's neighborhoods and subsequently campaigned succesfully for a Congressional seat.  This WSB-TV interview with Young was conducted on September 26, 1971, seven days after an article from the New York Times suggested him as a suitable running mate for Presidential candidate Edmund Sixtus Muskie.  Young predicts the election of an African American president during his lifetime.

In this video clip from September 26, 1971, the interviewer alludes to some of the negative attention Young had gained in the media in reference to reverse racism, the empowerment of a peripheral group through the discrimination of the majority. He responds to this heated issue by describing America as a “stew pot” vs. a "melting pot" where everyone becomes the same, and by insisting that Americans tolerate and appreciate the distinctions between cultures.

Add interpretation.

Discussion Questions

1. Explain Young's images of the country as a “melting pot” and a the “stew pot,” and discuss the differences between the two.

2. Why do you think so many African American leaders like Young come out of the church?

3. Read the essay on our Atlanta pages on Mayor Maynard Jackson.   In the aftermath of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1970s, what issues and policies did they prioritize as public servants? How did their careers pave the way for African American leaders who have followed them?

4. Is America ready for a President who is an African American, a woman, or both?  Why, or why not?

                                 Take it to the Streets!

In recent years, representations of American life have increasingly reflected the diversity of the nation. Examine the way different ethnicities are portrayed in the following:

People magazine
The Super Bowl
Newsweek
Pepsi or Coca-Cola advertisements
Essence magazine
Sports Illustrated
Prime time television
AOL.com
Soap Operas/Telenovelas
Miss America Pageant

Do the representations reflect Young's idea of America as a "stew pot" or do they reflect the traditional concept of a "melting pot"? Compare the ways cultural icons are used in prime time television and America's most-read publications. Is there a difference in the way cultures are portrayed in "mainstream" media than those that are designed for a particular racial or ethnic audience? Think about what audience your advertisement was targeting and how the demographic of the intended audience may have influenced the creation of the ad.

Suggested Resources

Writers: Nerrissa Edouard, John Millican, Amanda Morris, Emily Quinlan, Lindsey Stier, and Delila Wilburn in Professor Barbara McCaskill's AFAM/ENGL 3230 (Survey of African American Literature), Spring 2007.

Editors and Researchers: Kamille Bostick, Christina L. Davis, Mary Boyce Hicks and Professor Barbara McCaskill                                                              

Web Site Designer: William Weems  

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