Elected mayor of Atlanta in 1973, Maynard Jackson was the first African American to be mayor of a major Southern city. Jackson served eight years and returned for a third term in 1990. Before taking office, he announced his intention to give new people and new groups a voice in city government.
As a result, Jackson increased the number of women and minority city employees, created a system of Neighborhood Planning Units to influence zoning, and established policies that guaranteed minority-owned firms a substantial share of city business. Jackson’s willingness to address concerns of the city’s business establishment through compromise and cooperation ensured the economic development of the region.
This grandson of John Wesley Dobbs, the unofficial mayor of “Sweet Auburn” and founder of the Georgia Voters League, had deep roots in Atlanta and was a graduate of Morehouse College. Following Jackson’s death in 2003, the Atlanta airport, which he helped expand into the world’s busiest, was renamed Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in his honor.