Friday, April 01, 2011

In 2008, the Council on Library and Information Resources awarded a grant to the Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History (AARL) and Emory University to process "hidden" civil rights collections. At AARL, the collections are the Andrew J. Young Papers and the NAACP-Atlanta Branch Records. While processing the Andrew J. Young Papers, it revealed a "hidden" collection within this "hidden" collection: the papers of his wife of forty years, Jean Childs Young. Due to the content and amount of material, it became a collection separate from her husband's and is now available for research.

As the wife of a well-known minister, civil rights activist, politician, ambassador, and business leader, Jean Childs Young supported and participated in her husband's activities, but also created her own identity and career through working as an educator and activist. A few highlights of her contributions:

  • She was as an elementary school teacher, coordinator of curriculum for Atlanta Public Schools, helped establish Atlanta Junior College (now Atlanta Metropolitan College), and founded the Mayor’s Task Force on Education. In the late 1960s, she worked to incorporate black studies into elementary school curriculum, twenty years before mandated by the Atlanta Public School system.
  • President Jimmy Carter appointed her as Chair of the 1979 International Year of the Child, where more than 100 countries participated to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of the Child and to raise awareness about children's rights. Her involvement with children's advocacy extended to UNICEF, the Children's Defense Fund, and she co-founded the Atlanta-Fulton Commission on Children and Youth.
  • In 1970, she founded the group "Women for Andrew Young," the first local campaign geared towards women, which reconvened for her husband's four Congressional campaigns, two Atlanta mayoral campaigns, and Georgia gubernatorial campaign. She also participated in the early 1980s ERA movement, Mondale/Ferraro campaign, and the League of Women Voters.
Jean Childs Young's papers reflect her work in education, politics, children's advocacy, church, and her personal life and family. The finding aid is now online. For additional information about AARL, please visit the website.

Contributed by Cheryl Oesteicher, Project Archivist
Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History

**If you are interested in spotlighting a collection, project, or event related to women's collections, please email a blurb to the WCRT Steering Committee:**


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