This Day in Black History: March 23, 1938

Maynard Jackson

This Day in Black History: March 23, 1938

On March 23, 1938, Maynard Jackson, Atlanta's first Black mayor, was born.

Published March 23, 2013

On March 23, 1938, Atlanta’s first African-American mayor, Maynard H. Jackson Jr., was born in Dallas, Texas.

Jackson’s family moved to Atlanta in 1945 when his father accepted a job as pastor of the Friendship Baptist Church. He went on to attend Morehouse College through a special program and graduated at just 18. Before his election as mayor, Jackson earned a J.D. from the Carolina Central University School of Law and worked as an attorney for the National Labor Relations Board.

In 1969, Jackson was elected vice-mayor and, in 1973, he won the city’s mayoral race — making him the first African-American to hold the office and the first Black mayor of a southern city.

Jackson served two consecutive terms (1974-1978, 1978-1982) and was re-elected in 1990 for a third term. His first two terms were marked by significant gains in the representation of minority firms as city contractors, and he is also known for reforming the City of Atlanta Police Department, redeeming the force from a legacy of Black intimidation and racism.

Jackson died in 2003.

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(Photo: Dennis Brack /Landov)

Written by Naeesa Aziz


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