Legislators Reflect on Young's Impact

By: Stephen Bowers Email
By: Stephen Bowers Email

News of Charles Young's death was felt at the state Capitol, where so much of his time was spent in the last 30 years.

"I know that we've lost a giant, and I know that the people in Meridian have lost a giant," said state Rep. Alyce Clarke.

That was the common response from throughout the Capitol. In a statement released from the Gulf Coast, Gov. Haley Barbour called Charles Young a gentleman, and that everyone thought so. Other lawmakers remember him just as fondly.

"Rep. Charles Young and I were elected 30 years ago, so we both came here in 1980," said Rep. Johnny Stringer. "He had a way of pulling people together. It didn't matter if they were Republicans, Democrats, white, or black. He had a way of pulling all the groups together."

"What I would see as his strength would be how he spoke," said Clarke. "He didn't jump up to the podium all the time, but when Charles went to the podium you know that it was something he felt very strongly about and that you could believe that what you got would definitely be the truth."

"I always admired his temperament. He had a way of, even when we would not see eye to eye, he would disagree agreeably, and we would always walk away. A lot of times we did agree, but there were times when we didn't," said Sen. Doug Davis. "When we didn't he was always very gracious and a true gentleman about it. I appreciated that very much."

"I've known Mr. Young all of my life. Mr. Young was personal friends with my family in Laurel, Mississippi. He and my aunt were many years in the NAACP together," said Rep. Omeria Scott. "They traveled all over this country working for civil rights. When I came here, Mr. Young took me in as his child because, as I told you, we have been family friends all of my life so when I came here I came here under Mr. Young's guidance."

Nearly everyone we talked to remembered him leading the prayer at the conclusion of each legislative session.

"It was his way, usually, of saying goodbye to us for the session," said Clarke. "This time it was his way of saying goodbye to us forever."

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  • by MARY MCBRIDE Location: Meridian on Apr 30, 2009 at 09:35 AM
    Mr. Young was a friend to everyone, he loved his community,family and friends.
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