Tales of Old Atlanta – The photo journalism of Boyd Lewis 1969-79.

These are the photographs of a bygone time and place. Paris had the 1890s. New York City the 1940s and 50s. San Francisco of the 60s. Atlanta of the 1970s had something in common with and had something unique compared to these epochs. We had the legacy of hometown hero Martin King.

The city, like Atlantis, sank long ago. Those were the rare old times.

I took the pictures. Hope you enjoy old times not forgotten.




From Movement to Politics – Flanked by two veterans of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), just-elected Congressman Andy Young shares a laugh in 1972. At left is State Rep. Julian Bond and the late State Rep. Ben Brown is on the right. Both represented Atlanta districts in the legislature.

Election night, November 1972. Andrew Jackson Young Jr. enters his campaign headquarters on Piedmont Avenue after becoming the South’s first black congressman since Reconstruction. Leading the applause is Vice Mayor Maynard Jackson, who will become the city’s first black mayor the following year.

This is my favorite photo of Andy. He’s just arrived at a deliriously happy campaign headquarters after winning the Fifth Congressional District race in 1972. At center is his father Andrew Jackson Sr., a New Orleans pharmacist.

Newly elected Congressman Young talks with Congressional Black Caucus chairman Rep. Charles Rangel (D.NY) in Washington. The Atlanta Voice sent me to D.C. to follow Andy around for a report to the homefolks. The former SCLC executive director was treated like a rock star by fellow members of the House.

The new congressman’s first staff, Spring 1973. Several former SCLC staff members are in the photo including the late Dora McDonald, over his right shoulder, who was Dr. King’s personal secretary; Tom Offenburger, the white guy top rear, SCLC communications director and Stoney Cooks, partly hidden, who took over as SCLC exec director when Andy first ran for congress (he lost) in 1970.

Andy trots with his son down the hallway of the Longworth House Office Building in Washington, where he had his congressional office. Photo from 1973. He and his late wife Jean Childs Young had four children. Mrs. Young, a brave and gentle soul, died in 1995.

Good Andy, bad Andy. SCLC vet Hosea Williams called Andy Young the “House Republican” of Dr. King’s organization. He was more conservative than many of his movement colleagues. BCCI, Wal-Mart, well, you know the story.

A 1976 political event at The Mansion on Piedmont and Ponce de Leon. From left are Congressman Young, Coretta King, Jesse Hill, and the late Jean (Mrs. Andy) Young.

Congressman Young and staffers tour a housing project in northwest Atlanta in 1975. Before his election, he was chairman of the Atlanta Community Relations Commission and held hearings all over city concerning crime, problems facing young people, police brutality and housing conditions.

Second term Congressman Young listens to the man who would one day make him U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. It was Young and Rev. Martin Luther King Sr. who convinced black voters to support a white southern governor for president in 1976. Jimmy Carter would later fire Young for trying to make peace with the Palestinians.

The Rise of Andy Young.

Next week, Chapter Seven Tales of Old Atlanta – Emmaus House, The conscience of the city – Welfare rights and public housing tenant leader Mrs. Ethel M. Matthews blames the legislature for all of it.

This free webzine is meant for your entertainment and information only. All photographs copyright Boyd Lewis/Atlanta History Center. Except as permitted under the Copyright Act of 1976, these images may not be reproduced in whole or in part with permission in writing from copyright owner. For information, contact Boyd Lewis.

Tales of Old Atlanta is also available at: www.talesofoldatlanta.com.

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Boyd Lewis

Boyd Lewis

New Orleans family. War baby. Family moved a lot. Secondary and college education in Memphis, TN. Just before 1967 graduation, commissioning and tour of leafy, lovely Vietnam, banged up in auto accident. Decided to go into journalism. Tennessee mountain weekly, small Mississippi daily and nearly three decades in Atlanta. Black and alternative newspapers, freelance photojournalist, public radio news and documentary producer, news writer for CNN. Married Deborah James, followed her to Los Angeles for job. Quit the dismal trade and became middle school English teacher in LA barrio school. Quite happy.