Dealing with Prejudice Sammy Younge


Dealingwith Prejudice: Sammy Younge

Dealingwith Prejudice: Sammy Younge

Racialdiscrimination against the blacks in America during the civil rightsactivism time left an indelible mark on the American history. As thecountry seeks to promote equal rights, it is important to considerthe people who are not very famous, but paid for the current equalitywith their life as the ultimate price. One of these people is SamuelYounge Jr, a young American from Tuskegee, Alabama who had to dealwith prejudice in the form of racial discrimination based on hiscolor. The discussion in this paper will illustrate how Younge had todeal with the racial discrimination, prejudice in his quest topromote social justice.

Apartfrom the racial discrimination, Younge had to deal withdiscrimination in the military due to his medical condition. Justlike any other young patriotic American, Younge joined the military.Unfortunatelyfor him, he was discharged from the navy due to a medical conditionthat was later treated (Forman, 1968). He did not return to themilitary, but he returned to Tuskegee in 1964. He then startedoffering his service at the Tuskegee Veteran’s Hospital beforegoing back to studies in Tuskegee Institute.

Theentire life of Younge was based on his activities dealing withprejudice in the community. As a student, he got exposed to severalinstances of discrimination, just because of his color. In the largercommunity in Alabama for example, the black people were not allowedto participate in any democratic process. Due to his passion for ajust community, Younge joined Civil Rights Movements such as theTuskegee Institute Advancement League (TIAL) that became significantin his life as he fought for what he believed in (Forman, 1968).Despite his level as a student, he was congruent with human rightsmovements outside the college, which made him an appropriate leaderof the movements at the institution.

Todeal with prejudice against the black community, Younge worked withorganizations outside the institution to protest the injustice inAmerica. This prompted the organization of Montgomeryprotest that became the “Bloody Sunday” as it was termed. In thisprotest, Younge and other activists had to deal with mistreatmentfrom the white policemen as protesters were beaten, leading to themarking of the day to that name (McGrath, 2011). In general, hewas vibrant in directing the efforts of the students and members ofthe Alabama community to counter the effects of prejudice.

Youngewas not just dealing with prejudice against the black community inAlabama but also in the whole country, especially the places wherethe civil rights movements took him. With a very selfless commitmentYounge travelledto Mississippi in April of 1965 during the voter registrationactivities to assist the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee(SNCC) and the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party to register blackvoters. With a lot of passion for equal rights, he worked with thesetwo organizations to register rural voters both in Mississippi,Tuskegee and Brownsville (Forman, 1968). Being part of the voterregistration activities did not only make him more conscious of thepolitical injustices, but also part of the solution through theorganizations he assisted.

Oneof the main focus points where Younge effectively worked to counterthe effects of prejudice against the blacks was to desegregate publicinstitutions. Together with the human rights organizations,he worked to desegregate restaurants, churches, pools and publicschools in Tuskegee (McGrath, 2011). This was one of his maincommitments, as he was focused to see that the blacks were liberatedfrom the racial discrimination.

Toaccomplish his desire for a just society, Younge worked in very riskysituations (Forman, 1968). For instance, Younge and other thirtyactivists were attacked by a crowd of white citizens in July 1965,while working to desegregate a church in Tuskegee. Consequently,Younge was not free of arrest like any other activist. At one time,Younge was arrested together with six of his colleagues in September1965 while transporting voters to register in Lee County (Forman,1968). Youngepaid the ultimate price of death on the fateful day of January 3 1966when he met his final act of violence from his believe in racialequality (Finkelman,2006).He was threatened by a white voter registrar, with a knife for hisrole in the assistance of Negroes to register as voters. He waskilled by a white gas station attendant just because of usingbathrooms that were racially designated for whites only.

Thelife of Younge presents a man who was ready to go to great extents tofight for the achievement of equality in the society. In his entirelife, he had to deal with prejudice against the black community inAmerica. It is the prejudice that he was working to abolish thatclaimed is life, leaving an indelible mark in the quest for equality.Being killed because he was a black man presents a view that hesacrificed his own life for the sake of equality that he lived for.This presents Younge as a person who selflessly dealt with prejudiceof racial discrimination against the blacks.


Forman,J. (1968). Sammy Younge, Jr.: TheFirst Black College Student to Die in the BlackLiberation Movement.New York: Grove Press

Finkelman,P. (2006). Encyclopedia of AmericanCivil Liberties. New York: Routledge

McGrath,T. E. (2011). SammyYounge, Jr. : Archival Scholarship of a Public Memory.New York: Syracuse University