By Cheryl Oestreicher, Project Archivist, Andrew J. Young Papers, Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History
“Working for Freedom: Documenting Civil Rights Organizations” is a collaborative project between Emory University’s Manuscript, Archives and Rare Book Library, The Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History, The Amistad Research Center at Tulane University, and The Robert W. Woodruff Library of Atlanta University Center to uncover and make available previously hidden collections documenting the Civil Rights Movement in Atlanta and New Orleans. The project is administered by the Council on Library and Information Resources with funds from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Each organization regularly contributes blog posts about their progress.
For more information about the collection described in this post, please contact the Archives at Auburn Avenue Research Library, aarl [dot] archives [at] fultoncountyga [dot] gov
Elected in 1981 and serving two terms, Andrew Young’s time as mayor is known as “The Young Years” and according to Nehl Horton’s report of the same title, it was “nearly a decade of unprecedented social, cultural and economic progress which defines the City of Atlanta in the 1980s.” Young did not accomplish everything by himself, but the vision and opportunities he provided allowed his staff and residents to develop culture, education, employment, housing, facilities, travel, and tourism in Atlanta.
A few highlights of “The Young Years”:
- increased equal employment opportunities, particularly for minority- and female-owned businesses
- bid for the 1996 Olympics; hosted the 1988 Democratic National Convention
- redevelopment of Underground Atlanta
- increased convention trade by 62%
- installed new and enhanced Emergency 911 System; developed the first Fire Protection Master Plan
- standardized and modernized the taxicab industry
- added 10,144 new housing units; invested in food and housing for the homeless
- created the Mayor’s Task Force on Education, chaired by Jean Childs Young, which started the Mayor’s Scholars and Dream Jamboree programs
- completed the Three Rivers Water Quality Management Program; established the Atlanta-Fulton County Water Resources Commission
- maintained and operated nearly 1,500 miles of city streets, 800 traffic signals, and 30,000 street lights; supported Georgia 400 and Presidential Parkway projects
- expanded Hartsfield Atlanta International Airport, voted the busiest airport in the world in 1987 and best-liked three times in the 1980s; completed the MARTA Airport Station
- instigated legislation to create the City Hall Complex; increased the number of computer terminals in city offices from 200 to 675
- formed Park Pride Atlanta, the Adopt-A-Park program, and the Peachtree Planter Project
- initiated the Mayor’s Fellowship in the Arts program, New Visions Gallery of Contemporary Art, International Arts and Cultural Exchange Program, National Black Arts Festival
- contributed to the preservation of historic structures through the Historic Façade Program; provided grants and funding to renovate Inman Park Trolley Car Barn, Ebenezer Baptist Church, Butler Street YMCA, Fox Theatre, Oakland Cemetery, and Healey Building
The Andrew J. Young Papers contain speeches, interviews, press releases, articles, correspondence, reports, photographs, buttons, fliers, brochures, bumper stickers, posters, and audio-visual material documenting his mayoral activities. The Andrew J. Young Papers are currently closed to researchers and are expected to be open in late 2010. The Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History is the first library of its kind in the southeast offering specialized reference and archival collections for the study and research of African cultures. For more information visit our website.