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.

6 Comments
  1. Terri Evans

    Boyd, your tales of old Atlanta have been so enjoyable. What a treasure you are sharing with us!

  2. I have admired your work for a long time. Thanks for posting this!

  3. Mayor Young was criticized for being out of town so often. Once at Atlanta Fulton County Stadium a friend of mine and I were walking to the concession stand and Mayor Young was leaving one of the suites. I asked the Mayor what had brought him to town. Mayor Young just rolled his eyes and my friend assured the mayor that I was just another smart ass white boy and we all stood there and laughed. I was lucky enough to meet Ambassador Young on several other occasions. He was always very nice and genuine.

  4. Cliff Green

    My memory may be failing, but don’t remember Carter firing Young for “trying to make peace with the Palestinians.” After all, we have never been at war with the Palestinians. As I recall, Andy got canned for saying that the British were the greatest racists of all time, or something along those lines. (Some other old timer out there help me with this.)

  5. My memory is quickly fading too, but I did a story for Creative Loafing in 1977 just after Young returned from the UN. President Carter said his contacts with Palestinian representatives regarding resumption of peace talks with the Israelis were not authorized by the administration. Israel’s supporters leaned on Carter to rein in this upstart. Carter was planning the historic Camp David summit conference and didn’t need freelance diplomacy. the brutal irony is Andy Young, one of the heirs to the authentic legacy of Dr. King, could have brokered an permanent end to Palestinian-Israeli hostility, saved thousands of lives and given Palestinians their own nation and Israel peace and international respect.

  6. Jeff Cochran

    Hi Cliff, Boyd,

    Young made his comments about the British not too long after he became U.S. Ambassador to the UN in ’77. As I recall, several of his comments got him in hot water then but he stayed on. Carter found him invaluable in reaching out to third world nations.

    It was in ’79 that he resigned over the secret meetings he held with PLO officials in New York.

    The Summer of ’79 was a tough one for Carter.

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