By The Record Staff
“A zealous gathering therefore of past, and faithful recorder of present events, is worth of encouragement and support. The Record will endeavor, with the generous assistance of its friends, to be what its name implies.”
Written in the very first issue of The Record in January of 1888, these words continue to ring true. With this mission in mind, we introduce a new column—The Record’s Flashback Friday—to ensure that history is not forgotten, and hopefully to provide a little perspective during today’s tumultuous and often confusing times. Each column will reintroduce a story from CSB/SJU’s past which we believe remains relevant to the events of today.
In light of Black History Month, this week we re-introduce a piece from 1970, when it was announced that Reverend Andrew J. Young, an early Civil Rights activist and close associate of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would give the SJU commencement address and receive SJU’s highest award for peace making.
Black Leader to Address Graduates
May 5, 1970
Reverend Andrew J. Young, executive vice-president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), will give the commencement address at the May 24 graduation ceremony of the St. John’s University Class of 1970. Rev. Young and the Rev. Ernest L. Unterkoefler, bishop of Charleston, SC, will receive Pax Christi awards presented by St. John’s to individuals who display Christian ideals in the pursuit of peace.
Rev. Young, an ordained minister of the United Church of Christ, has served as executive assistant and a close adviser to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Dr. Ralph David Abernathy, Dr. King’s successor as President of the SCLC. He came to the SCLC from the National Council of Churches in New York where he served with the Department of Youth Work.
Since 1961 when he joined the SCLC, Rev. Young has participated in the highest planning and strategy councils for every major American movement for human rights and peace. He was first the chief administrator of the Citizenship Education Program, a project which led directly to the registration of thousands of Negroes and the election of hundreds of black candidates to public office in the South. He has been a principal strategist in such direct-action protests as those in Birmingham, Albany, GA, St. Augustine, Selma, Chicago, the Poor People’s Campaign, and peace marches and
assemblies against the war in Vietnam.
Like all his colleagues in the movement leadership, he has been subjected to frequent harassment, jail, and brutality.
In 1964, Dr. King appointed Rev. Young executive director and program supervisor of the SCLC. In February, 1968, Rev. Young was elected to the newly-created position of executive vice-president by the SCLC Board of Directors. In that capacity he assists in making final decisions on SCLC policy and planning.
Rev. Young is widely recognized as an advocate of nonviolent social change and a creator of ideas and programs to effect that change. As a theologian, clergyman, thinker and leader, he has written and spoken extensively on national and international affairs. He is currently involved in an analysis of both the history of the civil rights movement and the related problems of racism, economic exploitation, war and colonialism.
Bishop Unterkoefler will celebrate the Baccalaureate Mass the morning of graduation day. He is chairman of the Bishops’ committee on the permanent diaconate, the program established by the Church in the United States to provide for the training and ordination of men, married and single, to carry out some of the pastoral and spiritual work now performed by priests.