ANDREW YOUNG ANNOUNCES HIS FRIEND HOSEA WILLIAMS DEATH
November 16, 2000, ATLANTA, Ga. Late this afternoon, the National Council of Churches General Assembly took time out from its agenda to hear a poignant announcement by the NCCs President, Andrew Young. With tears in his eyes and a lump in his throat, Young broke the news to the Assembly that his long-time friend and colleague, civil rights leaders Hosea Williams, had just died.
"I just got word that Hosea has gone on to glory," he said, his voice cracking. Regaining his composure, Young continued, "It is a moment of sadness, but it is also a moment of celebration."
He recalled his service together with Williams and Martin Luther King, Jr., in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, mobilizing the civil rights movement across the South in the 1960s.
"Even though we were all seen as rabble-rousers and were sometimes kept at a distance by respectable Christians, I was there as a United Church of Christ minister, Hosea on the Presbyterian Church payroll, others as Baptists, Methodists, Catholics," united around the cross "at a time of life and death," Young noted.
Williams, who died of cancer at age 74, was prominent in the civil rights movement long after Kings death. For three decades, Williams was also known for his annual holiday dinners for the poor, which fed 30,000 last year in Atlanta.
Young, the NCCs President for 2000-2001 who presided over the General Assemblys Nov. 14-17 annual meeting, brought the news as the delegates were about to adjourn for a reception in Youngs honor. A light supper followed, with recognition of outstanding ecumenical leaders and programs and an offering, spontaneously designated for Williams "Feed the Hungry" program.
"Everyone saw the harsh, protest side of Hosea," Young said at the evening program. "Its his Feed the Hungry program that lets us see his grace."
NCC News Service/2000 General
NCC Home Page