Civil rights leader’s house recognized: A.Z. Young’s historic impact remembered

Published 6:59 am Wednesday, July 20, 2016

A dozen friends, family members and community members gathered, despite the rain Friday, to honor the legacy of A. Z. Young.

Young was a veteran of World War II and he returned home to help lead the civil rights campaign in Bogalusa and at the paper mill. He later he served the state as executive assistant to Gov. Edwin Edwards for minority affairs and in other positions. After his death, he was the first African-American to lie in state at the statehouse.

On Friday afternoon, Emma Dixon, president of the neighborhood homeowners association that includes Young’s home, unveiled a new sign in front of Young’s home on Young Brothers Road. The Washington Parish Men’s Club sponsored the sign, and Dixon said she hopes it will educate young people in the community.

“This is for our youth,” she said. “We want them to know the history of this community. We want them to excel professionally and in the community.”

Fate Ferrell said he hoped people in Bogalusa were inspired by Young’s legacy to work together.

“Let’s work together to keep what he had going,” Ferrell said.

Young was honored by a city proclamation read by Bogalusa City Council member Gloria Kates and later by Marvin Austin, who read a proclamation from the Bogalusa Voters League. In addition, Sheriff Randy Seal presented a plaque that named Young an honorary deputy sheriff posthumously.

Seal praised Young’s leadership and his bravery. Specifically, he praised Young’s courage for leading a march to the state’s capitol in 1967.

“Not only did he walk from here to Baton Rouge,” Seal said. “But he walked through some very tough areas.”

Later, State Rep. Malinda White said next year she would request a state proclamation recognizing Young.

Young’s brother Gary McGee said that even when Young was alive, he seemed legendary.

“When (Young) stood up, it seemed like he was 10 feet tall,” McGee said.

Rickey Young, Young’s son, thanked everyone for the ceremony.

“My mother used to say she came from the outhouse to the White House,” he said. “I’d like to think that she’d think this is right up there with going to the White House.”