The accomplished widow of noted civil rights leader Whitney M. Young Jr, Margaret Buckner Young, has died at age 88. Among the long list of her contributions, talents, and achievements, were authoring children’s books about African-American history, writing biographies of prominent African-Americans for Parent Magazine, and serving as a long-time educator.
Additionally, Young also served a capacity on the U.S. delegation to the United Nations. Vernon Jordan, noted civil rights leader who advised President Bill Clinton and was head of the National Urban League after Whitney Young spoke fondly of her,
“She was a loving mentor to me,” he recalled, “She always had sound advice, such as ‘Think about this,’ “
In the 50’s, Margaret was a professor in the psychology departments at Spelman College in Atlanta, GA. When her husband drown in 1971 in Nigeria, she then became the executive director of the Whitney M. Young Jr. Foundation – named for her late husband – an organization that helped academics studying in the arena of race relations, and promoted equal opportunity. In the New Rochelle, NY public school system, she helped parents make the transition when their children’s schools integrated.
In the 1980’s, Margaret was active in both the arts and in business; she was on the board of NY’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, Lincoln Center, and the Dance Theater of Harlem – and also was one of very few African-American women to serve on corporate boards (NY Life Insurance Co & the Philip Morris Co.).
Margaret was a 1942 graduate of Kentucky State, and a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority.
Both the unfortunate loss of her husband nearly 40 years ago, and Margaret’s passing are deeply felt losses to the civil rights community. What these people contributed to the fight for equality in society, education, and beyond for the future African-Americans is beyond what words can describe. Sojourn students can only hope to be lead by the footsteps the Youngs blazed on their brave paths.