TROY—More than 700 participants at the eighth annual Leadership Conference Celebrating Black History Month heard a veteran African-American leader reflect Saturday on the civil rights movement and the historic challenge facing President Barak Obama.
Andrew Young, who marched alongside Martin Luther King and later served as a U.S. Congressman, Mayor of Atlanta and Ambassador to the United Nations, was the speaker at the closing luncheon held at Sartain Hall on the Troy University Campus.
Young will join U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), a native of Troy, Feb. 15 on a trip to India to commemorate Dr. King’s visit to that country 50 years ago to meet with Mahatma Gandhi. Such missions are important not only to mark great moments in U.S. civil rights history, but also to gain global perspective.
“Our problems today are not black and white problems,” Young said. “They are much bigger than that.”
Young said the Obama Administration faces a litany of global challenges such as dealing with the emergence of China as a world power, the situation in the Middle East and nations in Africa and Latin America that are too poor to take advantage of the global economy.
He urged the conference participants to support the president, evoking the words of Dr. King: “We must learn to live together as brothers and sisters or perish together as fools.”
Young, who was Georgia’s 5th District congressman from 1973-1977, was appointed U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations by President Jimmy Carter in 1977, serving until 1979. He was elected Atlanta’s 55th mayor in 1982, serving until 1990. He co-chaired the committee to bring the 1996 Summer Olympics to Atlanta and ran an unsuccessful campaign for governor simultaneously.
The Leadership Conference Celebrating Black History Month, sponsored by Troy University and the City of Troy, annually brings together civic and community leaders, clergymen and business leaders in a collaborative and educational forum to discuss a central theme – this year’s being “Responsible Citizenship.” This year’s conference boasted the largest crowd in its history, drawing more than 750 registrants.