Join us for an evening with the “Mayor” of Buckhead Sam Massell as he discusses his life and legacy and the newly released Play It Again, Sam in which author Charles McNair chronicles the journey of ninety-year-old Massell, and his impact on Atlanta.
Sam Massell has excelled in four careers, including twenty years in commercial real estate, twenty-two years in elected offices, thirteen years in the tourism industry, and is now in his thirtieth year of association management. In 1969, Sam Massell was elected the first Jewish mayor of Atlanta, Georgia.
When a young boy, and self-described “dead-end kid,” Massell searched for identity between the mischief of his only two friends—one who ended up in juvenile detention—and operating his own oversized Coca-Cola stand. Later, he pioneered professionally as a specialist in building medical offices; struggled between pride and prejudice for being Jewish; and as a liberal Democrat, organized and managed a nonprofit civic group among one hundred (mostly) conservative Republican business leaders. Politically, Massell changed Atlanta’s city elections to nonpartisan, created Atlanta’s Urban Design Commission, allowed Muhammad Ali to fight when fifty other cities would not, established Metro Atlanta’s mass transit system (MARTA), appointed the first woman to the City Council, named the first blacks to city department head status, and developed the Omni, Atlanta’s first enclosed arena. Most importantly, his legacy will be his peaceful guidance of Atlanta (then population 500,000) through its transformation from an all-white power structure to a black city government.
Admission for all lectures is $10 for general public, $5 for members, and free to AHC Insiders unless otherwise noted.