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Maynard Jackson mayoral administrative records

 Collection — Box: 1-15, 1-149, 1-162, 1-92, 1-143, 1-60
Identifier: 0000-0000-0000-0075

Scope and contents

The Maynard Jackson mayoral administrative records are extensive and consist of materials spanning the years 1968 to 1994.

Arranged alphabetically, the Vice Mayoral records is a small series consisting mostly of newspaper clippings, correspondence and committee updates. The First and Second Term Mayoral records consist of three subseries: General files; Atlanta Child Murders; and Oversized materials. The General files subseries includes correspondence, proclamations, daily schedules, travel information, and news clippings, which are arranged alphabetically and chronologically. There are also documents regarding the expansion of the Hartsfield International Airport and the development of the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transportation System (MARTA). The Atlanta Child Murders subseries is arranged both alphabetically and by date. It primarily consists of several letters that were written to the Mayor from members of the community, as well as citizens throughout the country, expressing their outrage and concern for the safety of children. Also included in this subseries are news clippings documenting the tragedy, proclamations, and a small amount of information about the victims. The Oversized materials subseries contains a small amount of certificates and proclamations and resolutions from other states.

The Third Term Mayoral records series is the largest series in the collection. It consists of two subseries Transitional Task Force and General files. The Transitional Task Force subseries contains personnel files as well as policy, committee, sub-committee, and working group reports. It also contains information on members of his Executive Team. The second subseries is General files which consists of correspondence, files on City of Atlanta administrative departments, community issues, schedules, the United States Conference of Mayors, and documentation regarding the development of MARTA, Hartsfield International Airport, and the Olympics in Atlanta. The correspondence and files on the City of Atlanta administrative departments are both arranged alphabetically by name; some of the correspondence can also be found by date. Of particular note are records documenting Jackson, as mayor, developing many economic opportunities and creating an equal playing field for African American business owners. The expansion of the Hartsfield Airport was the first of those projects that guaranteed 25% of all contracts would be set aside for minority firms. The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) was another large project that required much attention from the Mayor's office. There is a small amount of information documenting the MARTA system which mostly consists of correspondence. The largest amount of documentation in this series is from the Atlanta Olympic Games. The sub-subseries on Olympics mostly contains documents on the Olympic committees such as: the Metropolitan Atlanta Olympic Authority (MAOC); the Atlanta Committee for the Olmpic Games (ACOG); Cooperation for Olympic Development in Atlanta (CODA); and International Olympic Committee (IOC). In addition, documents regarding the charter, correspondence, marketing strategy, and negotiations may also be found.

The Speeches and Speaking Requests series mostly consists of speeches written by Maynard Jackson, but also includes speech materials and speeches by others. Requests for Mayor Jackson to speak at events are also contained in this series. The Speeches and Speaking Requests series is arranged both chronologically and alphabetically. The Speeches subseries includes speeches to community and political organizations, conferences, constituency groups, schools and universities. Of particular note are his speeches: Inaugural Address, January 7, 1974; United State Conference of Mayor's, October 9, 1975; The State of the City, January 5, 1976; and at Ebenezer Baptist Church, October 19, 1980. The Speech materials sub-subseries contains a small amount of research notes on various subjects. In addition, the Speeches by others sub-subseries contains speeches by notable people such as Ralph David Abernathy, John Wesley Dobbs, and Andrew Young. The Speaking Requests subseries is arranged chronologically by year and consists of the many speaking requests he accepted, declined, and those which his schedule would not permit. These requests include speaking to civic organizations, public school children, state and local governments, as well as organizations requesting for him to serve as keynote speaker.

The Campaign series which documents his activities as a candidate while running for political office consists of five subseries: 1968-1969 U.S. Senate and Vice Mayoral campaign; 1973, 1977, and 1989 Mayoral campaigns; and Oversized materials; all of which are arranged alphabetically. This series consists of constituency group files, press releases, volunteer requests, contributions, correspondence, voter registration, financial information, daily schedules, news releases/clippings, and policy/position papers. The 1989 Mayoral campaign is the largest subseries and Atlantans for Maynard Jackson (AMJ) contains the largest amount of constituency group records. This subseries includes documentation regarding fundraising, field operations, press files, speaking requests, supporters lists, telephone call logs, volunteer materials, and zoning precincts. There are also a small amount of oversized materials in the last subseries. Some of those items are ballot pins, appointment books, volunteer cards and binders of thank you letters for contributions.


  • Creation: 1968-1994



Materials are in English.

Permission to publish

Access to this collection does not automatically include permission to publish from the collection. Prior permission from the Archives must be obtained in writing before any of this collection can be published or reproduced.

Biographical note

Maynard Holbrook Jackson, Jr. (b. 1938-d. 2003) was an outspoken lawyer and the youngest person ever elected mayor of a major southern city. He was also the first African-American mayor of a major southern city, becoming the mayor of Atlanta, Georgia in 1973. Jackson served eight years and then returned for a third term in 1990, following Andrew Young. Among his first endeavors as mayor was the restructuring of the city charter. The Board of Alderman, on which he once served as president, was immediately transformed into an eighteen-member city council. Additionally, twenty-four neighborhood planning units (NPUs) were formed, and public hearings were promoted. Jackson believed that racial unity was imperative for Atlanta's growth as a major city, and he worked tirelessly to provide equitable opportunities for all of his constituents. Because of this stance, Jackson faced great adversity throughout his first term, as he insisted that all new business pursuits funded by the city government actively seek to hire minorities.

The third of six children born to Maynard Sr. and Irene Dobbs Jackson, Jackson was born in Dallas, Texas on March 23, 1938. His father became pastor of the Friendship Baptist Church in 1945, and the family moved to Atlanta when Jackson was eight years old. A former Spelman professor of French, his mother was an Atlanta native and one of the accomplished daughters of John Wesley Dobbs, a leading local political activist and the founder of the Georgia Voters League. Following the untimely demise of Jackson's father in 1953, Dobbs became an influential figure in his life and served as a great role model to his teenage grandson. Jackson ultimately carried on the family legacy of serving the Atlanta community.

Jackson enrolled at Morehouse College through a special early-entry program at the age of fourteen. He graduated at the age of eighteen with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and History in 1956. His first job after college was as a claims examiner for the Ohio State Bureau of Unemployment Compensation in Cleveland. In 1958, he accepted a salesman position selling encyclopedias for P. F. Collier Company. Jackson decided to re-enter school in 1961 and attended North Carolina Central University Law School. He graduated cum laude with a Juris Doctor degree in 1964. The following year, he returned to Atlanta and passed the Georgia Bar Exam. He was then hired as a general attorney for the National Labor Relations Board. He later served with the Emory Community Legal Service Center who provided free legal services to low-income families in Atlanta.

In December 1965, Jackson married Burnella "Bunnie" Hayes Burke; they were the parents of three children Elizabeth, Brooke, and Maynard III. They divorced in 1976. Jackson married Valerie Richardson on October 7, 1977. Together, they had two children, Valerie Amanda and Alexandra.

At the age of 30, Jackson entered politics in 1968, when he ran an underfunded race for the U.S. Senate against incumbent Herman Talmadge. He won less than one-third of the statewide vote. He had reportedly entered the race because he felt the unopposed Talmadge needed some healthy competition. Jackson claimed his loss as a major victory for democracy because it demonstrated the right of any American citizen to run for political office. Nevertheless, he carried the city of Atlanta and immediately began a strong political force in the city. The following year, he was elected Atlanta's first African-American Vice-Mayor and was sworn into office on January 5, 1970. Jackson also became the president of the Board of Aldermen. While serving this role, the city charter was altered to strengthen the hand of the mayor. The new charter changed the aldermen to council members and replaced the vice mayor with the position of president of the city council. Also, during this time, he cofounded and became senior partner of Jackson, Patterson, & Parks, the first firm of African-American lawyers in the history of Georgia.

In 1973, Jackson campaigned successfully against incumbent Mayor Sam Massell to become Atlanta's first African-American mayor. He won nearly 60 percent of the vote and served two consecutive terms. His many victories included the implementation of affirmative action into city contracts. Jackson succeeded in raising the proportion of minority business contracts from less than 1 percent to more than 35 percent. Under his leadership, numerous appointments of women and African Americans were made to high offices for the first time in Atlanta's history. His most notable achievement was the construction of Atlanta's $400 million dollar international airport, the world's largest airport that was renamed the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in 2004 in his honor. The airport represented his relentless demand that minorities and women are employed in all facets of the business. Affirmative action, however, was not just an issue for the business community. Jackson also made this a pressing matter for reform within the social departments of the Atlanta city government. The police department considered to be racially insensitive and unnecessarily forceful with the city's African-American citizens was immediately overhauled during Jackson's first term. At that time, Jackson's greatest opposition was the police chief, John Inman, who was eventually defeated in a court case to uphold affirmative action. Jackson went on to create a new Public Safety Commission and appointed an African-American activist, A. Reginald Eaves, to oversee it.

After serving two consecutive terms (1974 to 1982), Jackson returned to the private sector as a bond attorney and managing partner of the Atlanta office of Chicago-based Chapman & Cutler. He remained influential in city politics behind the scenes during the Andrew Young mayoral administration. He decided to seek a third term in 1989, running against civil rights activist Hosea Williams. Jackson received 79 percent of the vote. During his third term (1990 to 1994), his national prominence accelerated him as a spokesman for cities throughout the United States. He served as president of the National Conference of Democratic Mayors and president of the National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials. His goal of advancing Atlanta's international stature was reached when he diligently worked with city officials to bring the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games to Atlanta. Atlanta was only the third city in the United States to be chosen to host the Olympics.

After undergoing a sextuple heart bypass surgery in 1993, Jackson declined the call to run for a fourth term due to health and personal reasons, despite having a public approval rating of 70 percent. He soon established Jackmont Hospitality, Inc., a retail and institutional food and beverage services company, with his daughter Brooke, and Jackson Securities, Inc., an investment banking firm headquartered in Atlanta. In 1996, Jackson Securities was named one of America's top five African-American investment banking companies by Black Enterprise magazine. In 2001, Jackson founded the American Voters League, a national initiative for the Democratic National Convention to increase voter turnout in local and state elections.

Maynard Jackson died of a heart attack on June 23, 2003 in Washington, D.C. at the age of 65.


273.5 Linear feet


The records are arranged into 6 series:

Vice Mayoral records;

First and Second Terms Mayoral records;

Third Term Mayoral records;

Speeches and Speaking Requests;


and Photographs

The records within the series are arranged both alphabetically and chronologically. In attempting to maintain original order, staff kept materials as noted as much as possible. Related information may be found in multiple series and subseries throughout the entire collection, as some documents from earlier terms or campaigns may have been used as reference for later terms or campaigns.

Maynard Jackson Mayoral Administrative records, 1968-1994
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Robert W. Woodruff Library of the Atlanta University Center, Inc. Repository


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