Andrew Young Set to Headline Civil Rights Celebration in Topeka Hosted by Kansas Bar Association

Andrew Young Set to Headline Civil Rights Celebration in Topeka Hosted by Kansas Bar Association

Andrew Young, a former UN ambassador, was chosen by the Kansas Bar Association to be the main speaker at this year’s conference. The conference will be held at Washburn University in Topeka.

“It gets us going again,” said Mark Dupree, Sr., who is running for president of the KBA and is the district attorney for Wyandotte County. “It gives us energy to know that what we do is important and makes a difference, not just to our cities and counties, but to the whole country and the world.” Laws are important, and what we do with them and how we use them affects all of our lives.

The Brown v. Board of Education decision was made 70 years ago, and the meeting on June 21 will honor that event. Civil rights will be the theme of the talks and events.

What does Andrew Young do?

It is Young who runs the Andrew J. Young Foundation. The Facebook page for the foundation says that he and his wife Carolyn McClain Young started the group in 2003 to work on civil and human rights, world health, economic development, and leadership development.

A written statement from the Kansas Bar Association says that Young got his master’s degree in divinity from Hartford Seminary in 1955 and was soon hired as a church leader in Marion, Alabama. That’s where he met Martin Luther King Jr. and became friends with him.

In the early 1960s, Young helped the civil rights movements in Birmingham and Selma, Alabama; St. Augustine, Florida; and Atlanta by planning things ahead of time and negotiating deals. In 1964, Young took over as head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

Elect to the House of Representatives in 1962, Young served three terms beginning in 1972. His government website profile says that after those three terms, President Jimmy Carter made him ambassador to the UN in 1977.

It says that Young is on the boards of the Martin Luther King Center for Nonviolent Social Change, Morehouse College, Americas Mart, and the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State, where he has taught.

The Presidential Medal of Freedom and the French Legion d’Honneur have been given to him, and more than 100 schools and universities have given him honorary degrees.

What the Kansas Bar Association will do in the future

Dupree said that this year’s conference is extra special for him because he is the first African-American to be chosen KBA president and will be able to talk about how the legal system affects gay rights.

“It’s amazing to be able to enjoy the 70th commemoration, to enjoy the civil rights and equality, while at the same time having one of the oldest bars in the country to elect its first African-American to lead it,” said Dupree. “It is a phenomenal time for the state of Kansas and for its lawyers.”

Even though he was elected, he said breaking that bar for the next generation was even more exciting.

“It feels great because what it says is you have the support of your peers and the support of those around you that believe in your ability and capability, and that feels good,” said Dupree. “But it also lets other people see what can happen, and not just in businesses. It can also happen in the law and in our profession.” This message says that everyone has a stake in the matter and no glass ceiling exists. “Everyone is welcome to sit down.”

People who go to the meeting will be told to visit the Brown v. Board of Education Museum as well as Washburn. Many law students from the university helped with the Brown v. Board case, which is why Washburn was picked, Dupree said.

“Topeka, in general, has served as such a significant monument to civil rights in our country and we wanted to bring that attention back home, not just to the state of Kansas, but right there in Topeka, Kansas, where some would say the civil rights was birthed,” said Dupree.

Everyone is welcome to attend the meeting, and Dupree told them to do so.

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