Andrew Young to JCSU grads: 'You are in God's hands'
Civil rights icon Andrew Young challenged graduating seniors at Johnson C. Smith University to find a purpose in life by working to solve the world’s many problems, Sunday, May 19, 2013. (Photo: Glenn H. Burkins for Qcitymetro.com)
Given the impressive resume of civil rights icon Andrew Young, it would be ease to assume that he has always been focused and in charge of his life. Not so, he told graduating seniors Sunday at Johnson C. Smith University.
“God has put you
here for a purpose,
and it’s not what
your momma and
daddy told you to
Young, 81, a former mayor of Atlanta, member of Congress and United States ambassador to the United Nations, described himself as a “sorry” and “trifling” student at Howard University.
Young said he often slept though his noon class, and if the weather was snowy, he said, he often skipped class altogether.
"I don’t believe that there is anyone out here in this graduating class that is as sorry a student as I was," he said.
He recalled driving back to his native New Orleans after graduating 62 years ago and deciding to stop in Gaston County, where he hiked to the top of Crowders Mountain. He had no idea what he wanted to do with his life, and his fiancé had recently dumped him. It was an outing that changed his life, he said:
“I looked out from that mountain and everything had a place, everything had a purpose,” he said. “As I looked out from the top of that mountain, I could not escape the fact that every tree, that very field, every flower, that the clouds, the mountains, the hills and the roads and the villages that I saw, everything was there with a purpose. And it hit me: That if God has a purpose for everything, there must be a purpose for me.”
Young challenged the students to find their purposes in life by working to solve the world’s many problems.
“You are not on your own; you are in God’s hands,” he said. “And as long as you know that and remember that, you won’t have any problems, and your life will open up to you in ways that your mama can’t believe.”
Listen to Young’s full 17-minute speech by clicking the Qcity Radio link below:
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