Bea Young’s career has spanned more than 60 years addressing racial disparities in schools and their communities and corporations and their communities. She began her career as an American History high school teacher in the Westside of Chicago where she quickly discovered the lies and omissions about Black History in the high school textbooks. Together, they rewrote their textbooks to include Black History and it was displayed at the 100th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation at McCormick Place.

In 1965, Young and her students at Thornton High School in Harvey, Illinois wrote a Black History Play, borrowing the title from Langston Hughes's poem, “I, Too, Sing America”. They presented their play at schools, park districts, and churches across the State.

In 1960, with Sterling Stuckey, then a high school history teacher, later to become a celebrated historian and the first to capture the impact of African Folklore on American culture, she co-founded The Amistad Society, created to bring leading Black educators, poets, and authors to inspire Black History education across the South Side of Chicago. They also inspired the creation of Student Advocates of Black History that picketed the Chicago Public Schools Building on LaSalle Street with more than 500 students. At the same time, she taught an evening graduate course, “The Educational Implications of Black History”, at the Center for Inner City Studies.

The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee invited Young and Stuckey to co-develop a part of the 1964 Mississippi Summer Freedom Schools curriculum, focusing on the Amistad slave ship rebellion. Bea then spent the summer of l964 in Mississippi helping to implement the curriculum and support the SNCC workers.

Later in 1965, she was invited to create the first Educational Services Department for the Illinois Commission on Human Relations with the goal to integrate Illinois schools outside of Chicago. This process gave Bea and her team the opportunity to create both racially diverse and inclusive schools where systemic cultural change was established and the curricula included Black History. In 1970 she was appointed as Executive Director of the Commission.

Young is currently writing her second co-authored book, Race and Education: Boots on the Ground 1965 to 1975, which is both a memoir and the story of the impact of her race and education successes at the Illinois Commission on Human Relations. Part of this story includes her mentor and mentee relationship with Fred Hampton.

Young became one of the earliest pioneers in the diversity and inclusion industry when she was invited in 1976 to join Harbridge House, Inc., an international management consulting firm where she established the firm’s Managing Diversity Practice. Her organizational development approach to racial and cultural change impacted scores of Fortune 500 companies.

Twenty years later, Young formed The Kaleidoscope Group, her first entrepreneurial firm that continues today as a leader in diversity and inclusion field. Most recently, she created Bea Young Associates, LLC: Collaboration for Educational Equity, which helps identify practices to address systemic racism and advance academic and opportunity achievement. Success in two Illinois school districts, where, as their consultant, they diminished the gap in opportunities and achievements, was recorded in her first book, Restoring the Soul to Education.   Bea and her business partner co-authored this book with Dr. Carmen Ayala, who was selected to become the State of Illinois Superintendent of Schools, 2019-2023.

Young earned her Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in Teaching degrees at the University of Chicago, where she completed doctoral coursework in education and organizational development. She was recently celebrated, as an alumna, by the President of the University of Chicago, with an award for her Lifetime Leadership in Diversity and Inclusion.