Whitney Young Jr.: Civil Rights Activist

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Whitney Young Jr. was an outstanding African American social work pioneer who gave new definition to the role of social worker in regards to the civil rights movement. Young was born July 31, 1921 in Lincoln Ridge, Kentucky to parents Whitney Young Sr. and Laura Ray Young. While Whitney Jr. was the second born of three children, he was also the only son of the couple (Weiss, 1989). Young had an early start in education. He spent most of his childhood at the Lincoln Institute, where both his mother and father worked. The Lincoln Institute was a black boarding school that was located in Lincoln Ridge (Weiss, 1989). Whitney Jr. attended school at the Lincoln Model School located in Simpsonville, Kentucky where he was a five year old second grader. Young graduated from the Lincoln Institute at the age of fourteen and went on to attend Kentucky State College (Franklin & Meier, 1982). Studying medicine at Kentucky State College was Young's intention, but his aspirations changed after a while. He majored in natural science and minored in education. While at Kentucky State, Young was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha…show more content…
Young faced many racial prejudices while he was in the military. Even though he faced racial discrimination as a soldier, his education and personality gave him an advantage. He was appointed to First Sergeant. Young's Battalion was assigned to Germany for World War II. Before leaving, he asked his college sweetheart Margaret Buckner to be his wife. They were married in 1944. As racial tension grew stronger, Young had to be the mediator between the officers and the other black soldiers. After being in the military and having to deal with all of the conflict between his fellow soldiers and the officers, Young then decided that race relations would be a better fit for him as a profession than medicine or engineering (Franklin & Meier,

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