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Jean Childs Young Papers

Identifier: aarl98-005.1

Scope and Contents note

The Jean Childs Young Papers document Young's work as an educator and advocate for children's rights, as well as her civic, church, and community service. Notable projects and involvement include the 1979 International Year of the Child, Mayor's Task Force on Public Education, Child Service and Family Counseling Center, Inc./ Families First, Children's Defense Fund, Atlanta Junior College (now Atlanta Metropolitan College), Atlanta Public Schools, the APEX Museum, and SciTrek, the Science and Technology Museum of Atlanta.

The papers contain correspondence, reports, speeches, programs, fliers, newsletters, articles, publications, brochures, meeting minutes and agendas, certificates, awards, plaques, photographs, audio-visual material, and ephemera.


  • 1910s – 2000 (bulk 1953-1994)


Conditions Governing Access note

Audio-visual material does not include access copies for part or all of the material. Researchers will need to consult with staff before requesting audio-visual material.

Biographical/Historical note

Jean Marie Childs Young, the youngest of five children, was born in Marion, Alabama, on July 1 1933, to teacher/seamstress Idella and baker/candy maker Norman Childs. After graduating from Lincoln Normal School, Young received a bachelors of science degree in elementary education from Manchester College in Indiana in 1954. In 1953, as the only African-American student at the time, she was the first African-American elected "May Queen." After graduation, Young married Andrew Young on June 7, 1954. They had four children: Andrea, Lisa, Paula, and Andrew "Bo" Jackson Young, III.

After Andrew received his ordination in January 1955, they moved to his assigned post in Thomasville, Georgia, where she taught in the elementary school. In 1957, they moved to New York where he worked with the National Council of Churches. Young earned a masters of science degree in education from Queens College in New York in 1961. Compelled to participate in the developing civil rights movement, in 1961 they moved to Atlanta when Andrew accepted a position with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). While Andrew traveled, Young raised three daughters, taught at Whitefoord and Slaton Elementary Schools, and participated in civil rights movement activities, voter registrations, and marches, including the 1963 March on Washington, 1965 March from Selma to Montgomery, 1966 March in Mississippi, and the Poor People's Campaign in 1968. When not able to travel, Young opened their home to members of the movement, from student volunteers to Martin Luther King, Jr.

After Andrew resigned from the SCLC in 1970, Young found herself in the new role of campaign worker. She actively participated in Andrew's Congressional campaigns in 1972, 1974, and 1976; mayoral campaigns in 1981 and 1985; and 1990 gubernatorial campaign. From the first Congressional campaign in 1970, she formed the group "Women for Andrew Young," the first Atlanta campaign geared towards women voters. Young continued her political involvement by participating in various campaigns and groups, including Carter/Mondale, Mondale/Ferraro, Equal Rights Amendment, League of Women Voters, and Georgia and National Federations of Democratic Women.

During the 1970s Young continued to participate in education, serving as a coordinator of elementary and pre-school curriculum for Atlanta Public Schools, where she wrote "Bridging the Gap: Home and School" (1970), a guide for parents on how to continue teaching their children in the home. Young was a lead teacher in Teacher Corps, a program that was part of Lyndon Johnson's War on Poverty to train teachers on how cultural and social traits to better enable them to teach in low income and disadvantaged elementary schools. She also provided leadership in the establishment of Atlanta Junior College, now Atlanta Metropolitan College, and served as its Public Relations Officer, Assistant to the President, Instructor of Development Studies with an emphasis on reading skills, Title IX Coordinator, and Affirmative Action Officer.

In 1978, Young found herself in the international spotlight when President Jimmy Carter appointed her as Chair of the 1979 International Year of the Child, a program to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the United Nations Declaration of Children's Rights. With over 100 countries participating, the purpose was to raise awareness of children's needs in "health, education, social environment, physical and emotional development, and legal rights." After the program, she remained active in numerous organizations advocating the rights of children and with Lucy Vance also co-founded of the Atlanta/Fulton Commission on Children and Youth.

After Andrew's inauguration as Mayor of Atlanta in 1982, she encouraged him to set up the Mayor's Task Force on Public Education, which she chaired for several years. Her efforts helped create numerous programs highlighting education and students around Atlanta, including the "Dream Jamboree," a college fair for high school students. She helped establish SciTrek (The Science and Technology Museum of Atlanta) and expand the APEX Museum (the African-American Panoramic Experience). Young was also instrumental in helping Atlanta and Andrew Young win the bid for the 1996 Olympic Games and she created education programs and curriculum guides, which focused on the cultures of other countries and the history of the Olympic Games. Young was the recipient of numerous awards, including Essence Magazine Outstanding Black Women of Atlanta (1982), Democratic Woman of the Year (1983), and the Delta Torch Award (1994), and held honorary degrees from Manchester College and Loyola University in Chicago. The APEX Museum created the Jean Childs Young Placemaker Awards, the United Negro College Fund created a scholarship in her name, and in southwest Atlanta there is the Jean Childs Young Middle School.

Jean Childs Young died on September 14, 1994.


72.0 Linear feet

72 linear ft. (109 boxes)



Arrangement note

The Jean Childs Young Papers are arranged into eight series: Series 1, International Year of the Child; Series 2, Children's Advocacy; Series 3, Education; Series 4, Community and Civic Involvement; Series 5, Church; Series 6, Personal; Series 7, Speaking Engagements; Series 8, Photographs and Scrapbooks.

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

The Jean Childs Young Papers were donated by Andrew J. Young, Jr. in 2004.

Related Archival Materials note

Andrew J. Young Papers. Jean Childs Young Institute Records.

Inventory of the Jean Childs Young papers aarl98-005.1 aarl98-005.1
Finding aid prepared by Finding aid prepared by Processed by Cheryl Oestreicher
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Auburn Avenue Research Library on African-American Culture and History Repository

101 Auburn Avenue NE
Atlanta GA 30303