Traveling exhibit details life of diplomat, civil rights icon

Published 11:36 am Friday, June 21, 2024

A traveling exhibit will showcase the achievements and contributions of Andrew Young, the first African American U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and a top aide for Martin Luther King, Jr., at the J.D. Williams Library at the University of Mississippi this summer.

From June 25 to July 31, the public can explore “The Many Lives of Andrew Young” at the library’s first-floor atrium. The library will host an opening reception, which Young will attend, at 4 p.m. on June 25 with a book signing to follow. The event is free and open to the public.

Created by the National Monuments Foundation, the exhibit chronicles Young’s life through compelling photographs, memorabilia, and his own words, based on Ernie Suggs’ book “The Many Lives of Andrew Young.”

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Donald Bermudez, who designed the book, and Young will kick off the opening reception with a community discussion moderated by Ethel Scurlock, dean of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College.

“I look forward to being there for the official ribbon cutting and sharing in conversations about social justice, the civil rights movement, and James Meredith’s role 60 years ago with Dr. Scurlock,” Young said.

“I am eager to share my journey and discuss where we are in bringing diversity, equity, and inclusion to all and the future of our collaborations.”

From his acceptance to Howard University as a 15-year-old to his transformational work as mayor of Atlanta, the exhibit shares the arc of Young’s accomplished life in 10 parts: boyhood, minister, Civil Rights icon, congressman, U.N. Ambassador, mayor of Atlanta, presenter of the Centennial Olympic Games, businessman, philanthropist and documentarian.

“With the university’s civil rights history, having such a positive exhibit and something that is so meaningful, especially with Andrew Young himself being able to come and talk about his incredible life, is so wonderful to have on our campus,” said Elizabeth Batte, outreach and strategic initiatives librarian.

The James Armistead Brown Family Endowment paid for the exhibit’s trip to Ole Miss, the third university to host the traveling collection. Batte said the exhibit fits with the library’s mission of “celebrating and preserving history.”

“The life that Andrew Young lived is not only relevant to people in Mississippi but to our whole nation,” she said. “So, it’s really special to us to be able to host this.

“I’m hoping that having Andrew Young come helps the younger visitors realize that this Civil Rights fight wasn’t that long ago, and these conversations are still relevant.”

The public can visit the exhibit any time the library is open. To view the library’s summer hours of operation, click here.