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Whitney Moore Young, Jr.

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Whitney Moore Young, Jr.

Whitney Moore Young, Jr. (1921-1971)

His Life
Whitney Moore Young, Jr.

Whitney was a prominent civil rights leader. At his untimely death, he was the Executive Director of the National Urban League (1961-1971).

Born in Lincoln Ridge, Kentucky he graduated from Kentucky State College and later received his Master's Degree in social work from the University of Minnesota. He worked with the Urban League in Omaha, Nebraska before being asked to serve as Dean of the Atlanta University of Social Work, where he stayed seven years.

As Executive Director of the National Urban League, he devised the Domestic Marshall Plan, which provided the conceptual basis for many of the Johnson's Administration's anti-poverty programs.

He was consulted by the Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon Administrations on civil rights issues. In August 1963 he was involved in the organizations of the "March on Washington". Young was awarded the highest civilian honor in 1969, the Medal of Freedom.

He wrote, two books: To Be Equal and Beyond Racism, in which he developed his vision of an open society. What he envisioned was a pluralistic society (not simply an integrated one) that would thrive on ethnic and cultural diversity, ensure economic and racial justice.

In March 1971 he was participating in a dialogue sponsored by the African-American Institute held in Lagos, Nigeria. During a recreational break, he went to a local beach. While swimming off the shore of Lagos, he died apparently of a cerebral hemorrhage.

The funeral was held in the New York Riverside church, an estimated forty-five hundred mourners filled the church, hundreds more stood outside.

President Nixon gave a eulogy at the grave-site ceremony in Lincoln Ridge.

His religion
Whitney Moore Young, Jr.

He was educated in Kentucky and Minnesota. When he went to Omaha, Nebraska to be the Executive Director of the Omaha Urban League, 1950-1953, he and his wife, Margaret, joined the Unitarian Church. Margaret was a co-teacher in a Sunday School Class. John Cyrus was the minister.

When they moved to Atlanta, they were the first black people to join the recently resurrected Unitarian Universalist Church. Glenn Campbell was their first minister, followed by Ed Cahill. Whitney asked Ed Cahill to help him on the Greater Atlanta Council of Human Relations. The two of them with the rest of the council working on Civil Rights brought about the desegregation of the airport, the public library and eventually the public schools.

Whitney was chosen to be the National Director of the Urban League, they moved to Rye, N.Y. and joined the White Plains Unitarian Church, where Peter Samson was the minister.

After he died, his wife gave permission to the White Plains Church to have a memorial service for him. Ed Cahill was invited come from Concord, N.H. to conduct the memorial service, along with Bob West, then President of the U.U.A.

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