Andrew Jackson Young, Jr.

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Andrew Jackson Young, Jr. (b. March 12, 1932, New Orleans, LA, U.S.), is a former civil rights leaders whose public relations firm, GoodWorks International, has accepted such controversial clients as Nike and Wal-Mart Stores. In the past in was a board member of Freedom House and he is presently on the advisory board for the National Peace Foundation. He is also on the board of advisors of the Children's Scholarship Fund and a Director of the Drum Major Institute

Not So GoodWorks?

For Nike, Young conducted a review of Nike's Asian operations, concluding there was "no evidence or pattern of ... abuse or mistreatment of workers." A separate report, conducted weeks later, detailed "unsafe, inhuman and abysmal conditions." Young also helped found the first Nigerian Presidential Library, which is under investigation by Nigeria's Ethics and Financial Crimes Commission. Young's firm, GoodWorks International, then "landed the lobbying contract to represent Nigeria in the U.S.," reported Bruce Dixon for the Black Commentator. [1]

GoodWorks in Nigeria

In April 2007 the New York Times examined the role of GoodWorks International in Nigeria, reporting that "GoodWorks is paid to represent many major companies like Chevron, General Electric and Motorola that seek big contracts from the Nigerian government. In addition, executives of GoodWorks have stakes in Nigeria’s oil industry, the country’s main source of wealth. And several years ago, the firm’s chief executive, Carlton A. Masters, started an American company with close relatives of President Obasanjo ... .Mr. Masters said that GoodWorks typically received a 'success fee' equal to 1 ½ percent of a contract’s value, a fee that can lead to big payouts. In 2005, for example, G.E. Energy, a GoodWorks client, won a $400 million contract to supply generating turbines in Nigeria." [2]

A Wal-Mart Front Man

In February 2006, Young announced that he would head Working Families for Wal-Mart, a group funded by Wal-Mart Stores. The group was widely seen as a front group for the giant retailer, which was facing mounting criticism for its labor, environmental and healthcare policies, not to mention its effects on local economies and a pending class-action lawsuit alleging sexism in the company's pay and promotion practices. [3] [4]

In August 2006, Young resigned from Working Families for Wal-Mart, after admitting to making "demagogic" remarks about Jewish, Asian and Arab business owners. He told the Los Angeles Sentinel that Wal-Mart should run smaller groceries out of business, because the "mom and pop" stores "have been overcharging us — selling us stale bread, and bad meat and wilted vegetables. And they sold out and moved to Florida. I think they've ripped off our communities enough. First it was Jews, then it was Koreans and now it's Arabs, very few black people own these stores." [5]

Wal-Mart spokesperson Mona Williams said, "We are appalled by these comments. We are also dismayed that they would come from someone who has worked so hard for so many years for equal rights in this country." [6]


Young "is an American politician, civil-rights leader, and clergyman. Young was reared in a middle-class black family, attended segregated Southern schools, and later entered Howard University (Washington, D.C.) as a premed student. But he turned to the ministry and graduated in 1955 from the Hartford Theological Seminary (Hartford, CT) with a divinity degree.

"A pastor at several black churches in the South, Young became active in the civil-rights movement--especially in voter registration drives. His work brought him in contact with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Young joined with King in leading the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). Following King's assassination in 1968, Young worked with Ralph Abernathy until he resigned from the SCLC in 1970.

"Defeated that year in his first bid for a seat in Congress, Young ran again in 1972 and won. He was reelected in 1974 and 1976. In the House he opposed cuts in funds for social programs while trying to block additional funding for the war in Vietnam. He was an early supporter of James Earl Carter, Jr., and, after Carter's victory in the 1976 presidential elections, Andrew Young was made the United States' ambassador to the United Nations (1977). His apparent sympathy with the Third World made him very controversial, and he was finally forced to resign in 1979 after it became known that he had met with a representative of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). In 1981 Young was elected mayor of Atlanta, and he was reelected to that post in 1985, serving through 1989." [7]

In 1994 President Clinton appointed him to chair the Southern Africa Enterprise Development Fund, a $100 million privately managed fund to provide equity to businesses in 11 countries in southern Africa. He was also Co-Chairman of the Centennial Olympic Games in 1996, and is currently Chairman of GoodWorks International, a specialty consulting group based in Atlanta, Georgia, that provides strategic services to corporations and governments operating in the global economy. [8]

He is associated with the Carter Center (James Earl Carter, Jr.) and is a member of the National Security Study Group. Young is a member of the Board of the United Nations Foundation.

Young lives in Atlanta with his wife, Carolyn, and is the father of three daughters and one son. He also has two granddaughters and three grandsons.

Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch


  1. Directors, Leon H. Sullivan Foundation, accessed August 26, 2008.
  2. About, Better World Fund, accessed April 4, 2009.
  3. 20 Years of Peacebuilding, International Alert, accessed August 13, 2007.
  4. About, World Justice Project, accessed April 27, 2008.
  5. Directors, Cached Page 2002, accessed February 23, 2009.
  6. About, Why Tuesday?, accessed September 22, 2007.
  7. Directors, National Campaign To Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, accessed December 13, 2007.
  8. Directors, Africa Society, accessed March 18, 2009.

External links