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Series VI: Photographs, 1930s-2003
At a Glance
The collection is arranged into 7 series.
This collection is made up of Margaret Young's professional papers, writings, personal and professional correspondence, biographical material, and photographs. A significant portion of the material, including a number of photographs, documents the career and commemoration of Whitney M. Young, Jr. There are several oversized items including photo albums, awards, and scrapbooks that relate to Margaret Young's professional activities and travels. The files span Margaret Young's lifetime, but most of the material documents her activities after Whitney Young's death in 1971.
Using the Collection
Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Restrictions on Access
This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least three business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.
This collection has no restrictions.
Terms Governing Use and Reproduction
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. The RBML maintains ownership of the physical material only. Copyright remains with the creator and his/her heirs. The responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Margaret B. Young Papers; Box and Folder (if known); Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.
Whitney M. Young, Jr. Papers. Columbia University Libraries.
National Urban League Records. Columbia University Libraries.
Whitney M. Young, Jr. Memorial Foundation Records. Columbia University Libraries.
No addition material expected
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Papers processed Mary Freeman, Columbia University GSAS 06/--/2012.
Finding aid written Mary Freeman, Columbia University GSAS 07/10/2012.
2012-07-11 xml document instance created by Carrie Hintz
2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.
History / Biographical Note
Margaret Buckner Young was born in Campbellsville, Kentucky on March 29, 1921. After receiving her primary and secondary education in Aurora, Illinois, Young went to Kentucky State Industrial College where she graduated with majors in English and French and met Whitney M. Young, Jr. The couple married in 1944 before Whitney left for Europe to serve with the army in World War II. During Whitney's absence, Margaret Young continued her education, earning a master's degree in educational psychology at the University of Minnesota in 1946. Whitney joined her in Minnesota, beginning his work with the National Urban League there. In 1953 the Youngs moved to Atlanta where Whitney served as the Dean of the Atlanta School of Social Work. Margaret was a professor of educational psychology at Spelman College. During the family's time in Atlanta, Margaret was frustrated by her inability to actively protest the dramatic segregation there without endangering her young children.
In 1961, the Youngs moved to New Rochelle, New York, and Whitney took on the role of Executive Director at the National Urban League. As her husband gained prominence, Margaret Young retained a more private role concentrating on raising their two daughters. She began a career as a writer, publishing articles including "A Negro Mother Speaks of her Challenging Role in a Changing World" for Parents' Magazine (1964) and the Public Affairs Pamphlet "How to Bring Up Your Child Without Prejudice" (1965). She also published several children's books including The First Book of American Negroes (1966), and The Picture Life of Martin Luther King, Jr. (1967). While Margaret Young's writings echo her husband's goals of racial equality, Young used her writing and her work with school children to make an independent mark on education practices in the United States regarding race, racism, and African American history.
Whitney Young drowned off the coast of Lagos, Nigeria in 1971. His death brought about abrupt changes in Margaret Young's personal and professional life. As Whitney Young's widow, Margaret Young dedicated herself to activism for racial equality by taking on numerous professional positions. She continued her husband's efforts to improve relations between the United States and Africa, traveling to Nigeria alone in 1974 and again with President Jimmy Carter on a state visit in 1978. She served in the United Nations as a member of the United States delegation to the 28th General Assembly in Yugoslavia in 1974. There she presented a paper on "The Promotion and Protection of Human Rights of National, Ethnic and Other Minorities." Young also was a member of a panel for the United Nations Association of the United States of America considering United States relations with China in 1978 and 1979. In the 1980s she served lengthy terms on the boards of directors at several corporations including Philip Morris and New York Life. Her work in these positions reflected her ongoing dedication to achieving racial equality, but she also gained experience and recognition beyond her input on racial issues.
Margaret Young was also deeply involved in the commemoration of her husband as the head of the Whitney M. Young, Jr. Memorial Foundation and through her involvement with the National Urban League. She also worked with many other institutions that sought to preserve the memory of Whitney Young including Columbia University, Kentucky State University, the Clark Atlanta School of Social Work, and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
In 1990, Margaret Young moved to Denver, Colorado and dissolved the Whitney M. Young, Jr. Memorial Foundation. In her retirement she continued to write stories for children that featured African American characters. She died at age eighty-eight on December 5, 2009 of complications from cancer.