"We're all plants of the same garden. I may be a sunflower and you may be a rose, but we all have our own value. With that type of attitude, we can get things done."-Paul Young, friend, teacher and major advocate in the Civil Rights Movement.
Those powerful words were once spoken by Young, who passed away in 2013, but whose legacy lives on.
Young was born on South Union Street on January 1, 1935, according to close friend and Shawnee resident, Fred Khavari.
The president of the Shawnee Kiwanis Diamond K said Young attended Dunbar High School, an African American school during the time of segregation.
"He grew up technically in the segregated part of Shawnee under Jim Crow Laws," Khavari said.
However, despite these hardships, Young graduated from Langston University with a music major, served his country in the Army and eventually become the leader of the Urban League in Tulsa.
It was because of his role in the Urban League that Young and Khavari met at the University of Oklahoma.
"I met him first when I was a student at OU in my junior year in 1968. I remember it very well," Khavari said.
Young was a keynote speaker at a meeting for the Baha'i Association in which Khavari was president.
"At that time (Paul) was a dynamo. He was very enthusiastic and a problem solver," Khavari said.
"He was the head of the Urban League which is a company that finds employment for African Americans in Tulsa and he says his legacy was finding 4,000 jobs, primarily at American Airlines, for African American men and women..."
Young was 11 years older than Khavari but a friendship formed when Khavari would attend various events Young held or participated in.
However, in 1972, the two lost track of each other and didn't reconnect until the early 2000s.
Khavari returned to Oklahoma in 1988 after getting a job in Shawnee.
"A few years later (Paul) had come back from Los Angeles to Oklahoma City and I met him at the Oklahoma City Baha'i Center," Khavari said. "So our commonality has been the Baha'i faith because we share the same goal of brining unity to mankind."
After they reconnected, Khavari said he and Young would meet weekly and they'd discuss everything in life.
Eventually they began teaching math and cultivating the STEM program which they brought to several schools throughout Oklahoma.
"We both became members of American Society for Quality (ASQ) and we were very active in the Oklahoma City chapter 1408 and we expanded our (STEM) program to multiple schools," Khavari said.
The two stayed friends for the next 13 years, until Young's death on June 28, 2013. Young lived with his children the final few months before his passing.
"I was the last person to talk to him and basically he (said) I love you or something to that affect. We were very close friends," Khavari said.
Young wanted to be buried in Shawnee so he was brought back here and rests in Fairview Cemetery.
Though it's been six years since Young's passing, Khavari said he has great respect, regard and love for his friend.
Young was a great friend, teacher and positive individual who believed in hope and looking forward.
"I admired Paul's futuristic vision. He saw America being a melting pot and people coming together and working together and that was one of his visions," Khavari said.