A. Z. Young

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A. Z. Young​

(Civil rights and labor activist, the first black to head a Louisiana state government agency)

Born October 31, 1921​​
Bogalusa, Washington Parish
Louisiana, USA​​
Died December 1, 1993 (aged 72)​​
Baton Rouge, Louisiana​​

Resting place:
​ Bogalusa Cemetery​​

Political Party Democrat​​
Spouse Dorothy Brister Young (born 1925)

​ Sherill Young (deceased)
Ricky Young

A. Z. Young (October 31, 1921 – December 1, 1993) was an African-American civil rights and organized labor activist who in 1972 became the first black to head a state agency in his native Louisiana.

Young was born in Bogalusa in Washington Parish in southeastern Louisiana.[1] He and his wife, the former Dorothy Brister (1925-2014), had a son, Ricky Young; he had a daughter from a previous marriage, Sherill Young.[2] He was a combat veteran of World War II.[1][3]

Young founded and headed the Bogalusa Voters League, which on August 19, 1967 led a massive march from Bogalusa to Baton Rouge, a distance of ninety-five miles, and culminated in an emotional rally on the steps of the state capitol, where Young greeted the marches and addressed a large gathering. The march prompted the state government to open job opportunies to blacks on all levels. Young himself was appointed by newly-elected Governor Edwin Edwards in 1972 to head the Louisiana Department of Hospitals, and he later headed the Louisiana Department of Health and Human Resources. At the time of his death at the age of seventy-two, he was serving as state assistant commissioner of elections during the last of Edwards' four non-consecutive terms. He spoke at many colleges on behalf of the civil rights movement and received an honorary doctorate in Humane Letters from the historically black Southern University in Baton Rouge.[1]

He died in Baton Rouge at the age of seventy-two and is interred, alongside his wife, at Bogalusa Cemetery.[4]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Young, A. Z.. A Dictionary of Louisiana Biography: Louisiana Historical Association. Retrieved on April 23, 2020.
  2. Dorothy Brister Young. Findagrave.com. Retrieved on April 23, 2020.
  3. A Dictionary of Louisiana Biography uses these sources for the article on A. Z. Young: William C. Matney, ed., Who’s Who Among African-Americans, 3rd ed. (1981); 'The Baton Rouge Advocate, December 5, 1993;, and Adam Fairclough, Race & Democracy: The Civil Rights Struggle in Louisiana, 1915-1974 (1995).
  4. A. Z. Young. Findagrave.com. Retrieved on April 23, 2020.