Jean Childs Young and Education

By Cheryl Oestreicher, Project Archivist, Jean Childs Young Papers, Auburn Avenue Research Library

“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

Jean Childs Young devoted much of her professional career to education. With both a bachelor’s and master’s in education, Young taught at Atlanta’s Whiteford and Slaton Elementary Schools in the 1960s. She served as coordinator of elementary and pre-school curriculum for Atlanta Public Schools (APS), in particular the Central City Program started in 1969. Focused on improving standards and staff development for teachers working at inner city schools, the CCP’s objectives included updating curriculum for all subjects, improving reading skills, and emphasizing students’ successes not failures.


Above: Draft of geography activity, circa 1969. Click image to enlarge.

While in that role, Young helped incorporate Black Studies into the curriculum, twenty years before such instruction was mandated by the APS. She researched and developed sources and activities for teachers that included history, people, places, and events. Additionally, Young wrote “Bridging the Gap: Home and School,” a guide for parents to help them understand what their children learned in school and how to continue developing those skills at home. After the program finished, Young remained involved in education through organizations such as APPLE Corps (Atlanta Parents and Public Linked for Education), Georgia Alliance for Public Education, SMART (Science, Math and Related Technologies for the Girl’s Club), and founded the Mayor’s Task Force on Education in 1982.


Above left: Contract for Black Soldiers activity, circa 1969. Above right: Page from “Bridging the Gap, Home and School,” 1970. Click images to enlarge.

The Jean Childs 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.