Skip to main content
Select Source:

Jackson, Maynard 1938–2003

Maynard Jackson 19382003

Former city official, lawyer

Chose Politics Over Legacy

Entered Politics

Elected Atlantas First Black Mayor

Mandate as Mayor Renewed

Sources

On January 7, 1974, Maynard Jackson, an ebullient, outspoken bond lawyer, became the first blackand at age 35 the youngest person everto be elected mayor of a major southern city. He served two consecutive terms as mayor of Atlanta and after an eight-year absence made a triumphant return to office in 1989, carrying 79 percent of the popular vote. Jackson has characterized his approach as the politics of inclusion, which opened the doors of the mayors office to all. During Jacksons first two terms in office, the governing regime of Atlanta was placed firmly into the hands of its black citizenry.

Chose Politics Over Legacy

Jackson was born on March 23, 1938, in Dallas, Texas, to Maynard Jackson, Sr., a Baptist minister who became the first black candidate in Texas to run for a board of education post, and Irene Dobbs Jackson, who would serve as chair of the foreign language department at North Carolina Central Universitys Durham campus. Jacksons nineteenth-century ancestors were progressive and spirited as well. Former slave Andrew Jackson, his paternal great-great grandfather, bought his own freedom and founded a Baptist church in Atlanta. And Jacksons maternal grandfather, John Wesley Dobbs, founded the Georgia Voters League.

In 1945, when Jackson was seven, the family moved to Atlanta, where his father became the pastor of the Friendship Baptist Church. A gifted and conscientious student, Jackson maintained top grades in Atlantas segregated schools, and for a time he considered becoming the third generation of Jacksons to become a Baptist minister. However, once into Morehouse College in Atlanta at the age of fourteen as a Ford Foundation Early Admissions Scholar, Jackson chose to major in history and politics.

In 1956, after graduating from Morehouse with a bachelors degree, Jackson worked as a claims examiner in the Cleveland office of the Ohio State Bureau of Unemployment Compensation and in several positions with P. F. Collier, Inc., winding up as assistant district sales manager before he left. After several years in the work force, Jackson returned to school, and by 1964, he had earned his law degree cum laude from North Carolina Central University. He then went back to Atlanta, obtaining a position as a general attorney with the National Labor Relations Board. Jackson was admitted to the Georgia bar in January of 1965 and later joined the staff of the Emory Community Legal Services Center in Atlanta, an organization providing legal assistance to underprivileged clients.

Entered Politics

Without much forward planning, Jackson decided to enter the 1968 Georgia Democratic primary race for the U.S. Senate. No one was surprised when he lost three to one against Herman Talmadge, the so-called number-one power in Georgia, but Jackson had reportedly entered because he felt the unopposed Talmadge needed some healthy competition. He received some surprising support from poor white farmers, who saw him as a feisty underdog, and from

At a Glance

Born Maynard Holbrook Jackson, Jr. on March 23, 1938, in Dallas, TX; died on June 23, 2003; son of Maynard Holbrook, Sr (a Baptist minister), and Irene (a university foreign language department chair) Jackson; married Burnell Bunny Hayes Burke (divorced, 1976); married Valerie Richardson, October 7, 1977; children: (first marriage) Elizabeth (step daughter from wifes first marriage), Brooke, Maynard III, Valerie Amanda, Alexandra, Education: Morehouse College, BA, 1956; North Carolina Central State School of Law, JD (cum laude), 1964.

Career: Ohio State Bureau of Unemployment Compensation, Cleveland, OH, claims examiner, 195758; P. F. Collier, Inc., Boston, MA, Cleveland, OH, and Buffalo, NY offices, salesman and associate district sales manager, c. 195861; National Labor Relations Board, Atlanta, CA, general attorney, 1964-late 1960s; Emory Community Legal Service Center, Atlanta, managing attorney, late 1960s; vice-mayor of Atlanta, 197073; Jackson, Patterson, & Parks (law firm), Atlanta, cofounder and senior partner, 19702003; mayor of Atlanta, 197381, 198993; Chapman & Cutler, Chicago, IL, Atlanta-based partner, 19812003; Jackson Securities, Inc., founder, 19932003; Fannie Mae, board of directors, 2000; Democratic National Committee, National Development chair, 2001.

Awards: Named to list of 200 young American leaders by Time, 1975; named to the 100 most successful blacks list by Ebony, 1976; Jackson Securities Inc. ranked second on Black Enterprise magazines list of Top 100 Black investment banks, 1998.

organized labor, who liked his endorsement of the repeal of portions of the Taft-Hartley Act, a doctrine defining relations between labor and management. Jackson claimed his loss a major victory for democracy, because it demonstrated the right of any American citizen to run for public office. And, in fact, Jackson felt the impressive showing he had made in so short a campaign proved that Georgians were ready for a black politician. He vowed to enter and to win the campaign for vice-mayor of Atlanta in 1969. Mobilizing the support of the black community and gaining one-third of the white vote, he defeated Milton Farris, a white businessman who had served on the Board of Aldermen (a body of city legislators) for thirteen years. As well as being sworn in as Atlantas first black vice-mayor on January 5, 1970, Jackson became president of the citys policy-making Board of Aldermen. Around the same time, he cofounded and became senior partner of Jackson, Patterson & Parksthe first firm of black lawyers in Georgias history.

Jackson devoted much of his time as vice-mayor to building up support for the 1973 mayoral race. He ran against eleven other candidates, including the incumbent mayor, Sam Massell, and black state senator Leroy Johnson. Massell was felt by the electorate to be ineffectual in dealing with Atlantas problems, particularly the increasing crime rate in the city. Observers have indicated that the voters of Atlanta, half of them black, were ready for a black mayor, and Jacksons eloquence and minority rights convictions appealed to voters at a time of political apathy.

In the 1973 election, Jackson received 46.6 percent of the vote against Massells 19.8 percent. In the runoff campaign, Jackson stressed his own desire to unite blacks and whites in Atlanta and urged Massell to avoid racially divisionary tactics. But Massell openly addressed the fears of white voters. He labeled Jackson a reverse racist, pointing to Jacksons outspoken assertion that discrimination against blacks within the ranks of various city departments should be remedied by giving blacks hiring priority over whites. But Massells divisive and inflammatory strategy worked against him: he lost to Jackson in the runoff.

Elected Atlantas First Black Mayor

In his victory speech, JacksonAtlantas first black mayoraddressed an enthusiastic audience in the grandly rhetorical style that was to become characteristic of him: We have risen from the ashes of a bitter campaign to build a better life for all Atlantans, Jackson was quoted as saying in the New York Times. Determined to open the door of opportunity to all citizens, Jackson immediately set to work to revamp the city charter. The Board of Aldermen was replaced by an eighteen-member biracial city council. The city was divided into 24 planning districts, each of which held public hearings, giving a forum to every neighborhood and promoting new leadership within the neighborhood.

In his role of leading Atlanta through the difficult transition years from predominantly white leadership to a more equitable power balance, Jackson earned a reputation as an aggressive and outspoken mayor. The white business community was often offended and critical of what seemed to be a black involvement-at-any-cost attitude. When, in the early 1970s, plans for the construction of a new international airport came under consideration, Jackson stood in the face of opposition from the predominantly white business community by insisting that the project would not start unless minorities were given a fair share of the work. Skeptics predicted the project would be delayed and untold millions would be added to the cost. But, as reported in Ebony, the affirmative action plan worked: the airport was completed on schedule and under budget.

Jackson had a few confrontations when he first took over office. In May of 1974 he tried to fire police chief John Inman, whom he felt discriminated against blacks. Inman challenged the new city charter and Jacksons power under that charter but was eventually demoted. That same summer Jackson appointed black activist A. Reginald Eaves to the position of public safety commissioner. Eaves was accused of inappropriately using his political influence, and his practice of increasing the recruitment of blacks in the police department was interpreted as reverse racism. However, Jackson refused to fire Eaves. When 1976 statistics showed a sharp decline in crime in Atlanta, Jacksons refusal was partially vindicated, but both the Inman and Eaves incidents caused some racial tension at the time.

Toward the end of Jacksons second term in office, Atlanta became the focus of widespread national attention over the serial murders of black children. The slayings had begun some time earlier, but until early 1981, they were not recognized as being connected. The murders continued but remained unsolved, and alarmed Atlantans became critical of the city police force, whose skills they felt were inadequate to solve the crimes. The matter became a nationwide concern, and the FBI finally stepped in. Jackson imposed curfews, appealed for federal help, and encouraged causes to benefit the families of victims. But until the perpetrator, Wayne B. Williams, was captured in 1981 and later convicted of the crimes, the unsolved murders threatened to overshadow Jacksons considerable achievements in his first reign in officeincluding the overall downturn in crime and homicide in Atlanta.

During Jacksons second term, the Atlanta city charter was changed to permit mayors only two consecutive four-year terms in office. At the end of his second term, Jackson could look back with some pride on his accomplishments as mayor. Although his aggressive manner of confronting racial inequity may have caused resentment, few could deny that his politics of inclusion had opened a new era in Atlantas history. Blacks were now full participants in a city that, prior to Jacksons administration, had kept them on the fringes of power.

Under Jacksons leadership Atlanta made serious gains as a financial center and distribution hub. Expanded international convention facilities turned Atlanta into a major convention center. In 1981 the prestigious Places Rated Almanac named Atlanta the best major city in which to live and work. Jackson had taken advantage of affirmative action programs to improve city housing and social conditions. He also transformed the mass transit system into one of the most modern in the country.

In 1982 Andrew Young, a former U.S. congressman and ambassador to the United Nations, took over as mayor for the next two terms. During those eight years, Jackson worked as a bond lawyer. He was also the Atlanta-based partner with the Chicago firm of Chapman & Cutler.

Mandate as Mayor Renewed

When Jackson decided to run for mayor again in 1989, he won the support of both the middle-class black and the business communities. He showed a reassuring balance between concern for residential interests and social equity and a desire to work closely with business. Jacksons strongest opponent, Michael Lomax, had earlier withdrawn from the race, convinced that he would be unable to defeat Jackson. Once Lomax withdrew, Jacksons victory was practically guaranteed, and on October 3, 1989, he swamped the only other creditable contender, Hosea Williams, by a four-to-one majority.

Despite Jacksons conciliatory approach to the business community in the election campaign, his previous aggressive pro-minority record had business leaders nervous about his return to office. But Jackson had earlier fought and won the minority rights battle, and the 1990s presented new problems that required a different strategy. As Jackson stated in the Christian Science Monitor shortly after returning to office: Its tougher this time around. There are fewer state and federal dollars and issues on my plate that werent even mentioned in the 1981 budget.

The issues Jackson was referring to included the AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) crisis, home-lessness, the war on drugs, and the need for potable (or drinkable) water in the city. The rising crime rate also presented a serious problem, which Jackson dealt with by appointing Eldrin Bell, a tough, traditional-minded, conservative chief of police. Though still a major concern, city crime decreased by 14 percent in 1990.

Some social activists have suggested that Jackson was too involved with currying the favor of the business community and was ignoring the problems of the poor and homeless. But Jackson, who saw himself as a champion of the underdog, was quick to deny such accusations, citing ambitious plans using public and private funds to rebuild homes and provide housing for the poor. With a depressed economy and a lack of federal support, Jackson knew he had to encourage a healthy business climate if Atlantas economic well being was to continue.

Jackson described Atlanta as a success-oriented city whose greatest strengths were its people and its ability to adapt to change. Now the trade and convention hub of the southern states, Atlanta was chosen to host the 1994 football Super Bowl. And that was just the beginning. Jackson was one of the forces behind the decision to hold the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia, rather than the previously considered Athens, Greece. Atlanta was only the third city in America to have ever been chosen to host the Olympics.

In 1993 Jackson, while traveling to garner support for the Atlanta-based Olympics, suffered from a heart attack and had to get sextuple heart bypass surgery. It was thought by many that this was the reason that he chose not to run for a second term of office. Instead of a second term, Jackson left public service and started a company of his own, Jackson Securities, Inc., an investment banking firm. Jackson also ran to become the chair of the Democratic National Committee, but wasnt elected. Instead, the Committee gave him the National Development Chair in Washington, D.C. In this position, according to Jet magazine, Jackson had responsibilities in key areas, which include chairing the DNCs new Voting Rights Institute. He will lead the DNC in developing its equal opportunity program and assist state and local party organizations and will help move [America] forward on the single most critical issue facing all votersensuring that all votes are counted. President Clinton appointed Jackson, in 2000, to the Fannie Mae Board of Directors. Fannie Mae is the largest non-bank financial service company in the world, working at the New York Stock Exchange.

In 2003 Jackson collapsed in a Washington airport and soon after died of cardiac arrest. He died young, but as a respected man. According to the Knight Ridder/ Tribune News Service, Jacksons former protege and mayor of Atlanta at the time of his death, Shirley Franklin said of him, He was a lion of a man. He was a champion of inclusion for all people. President Jimmy Carter spoke at a memorial service in Jacksons honor, a speech that was printed in Americas Intelligence Wire, saying Well Maynard Jackson is one of the rare political leaders in the history of this country, who has been able, because of his personal political courage and his voice and his temperament and his native leadership capabilities, profoundly to impact for the better the people whom he served. And the interesting thing is that his legacy will be a permanent one. And the life and contributions of this great man will never be forgotten. The nation, and especially Georgia will miss the man Newsweek called an emblem and an architect of the best of the post-civil-rights era, and it is to be hoped that his lessons of equality for all will never be forgotten.

Sources

Books

Whos Who Among African Americans, 16th edition, Gale, 2003.

Periodicals

Americas Intelligence Wire, June 6, 2003.

Bond Buyer, July 17, 2003, p. 1.

Christian Science Monitor, September 12, 1991.

Ebony, December 1980; December 1986; July 1996, p. 66.

Forbes, September 24, 1980.

Jet, June 28, 1993, p. 30; February 26, 2001, p. 4.

Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service, August 11, 2002; June 30, 2003.

M2 Presswire, July 18, 2000.

New York Times, October 18, 1973; January 28, 1981; February 1, 1981; April 12, 1981; July 16, 1988; February 19, 1989; January 7, 1991.

Newsweek, April 25, 1977; July 7, 2003, p. 12.

PR Newswire, November 2, 2001.

PS: Political Science and Politics, June 1990.

Time, September 14, 1992, p. 25; July 7, 2003, p. 25.

U.S. News & World Report, April 7, 1975.

On-line

Maynard Holbrook Jackson, Jr., Biography Resource Center, www.galenet.com/servlet/BioRC(September 23, 2003).

Heather Paterson Rhodes and Catherine Victoria Donaldson

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Jackson, Maynard 1938–2003." Contemporary Black Biography. . Encyclopedia.com. 28 Jun. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Jackson, Maynard 1938–2003." Contemporary Black Biography. . Encyclopedia.com. (June 28, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/jackson-maynard-1938-2003

"Jackson, Maynard 1938–2003." Contemporary Black Biography. . Retrieved June 28, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/jackson-maynard-1938-2003

Jackson, Maynard 1938–

Maynard Jackson 1938

Mayor of Atlanta

At a Glance

Jackson Elected Atlantas First Black Mayor

Jacksons Mandate as Mayor Renewed

Sources

On January 7, 1974, Maynard Jackson, an ebullient, outspoken bond lawyer, became the first blackand at age 35 the youngest person everto be elected mayor of a major southern city. He served two consecutive terms as mayor of Atlanta and after an eight-year absence made a triumphant return to office in 1989, carrying 79 percent of the popular vote. Jackson has characterized his approach as the politics of inclusion, which opened the doors of the mayors office to all. During Jacksons first two terms in office, the governing regime of Atlanta, a city that is 49 percent black, was placed firmly into the hands of its black citizenry.

Jackson was born March 23, 1938, in Dallas, Texas, to Maynard Jackson, Sr., a Baptist minister who became the first black candidate in Texas to run for a board of education post, and Irene Dobbs Jackson, who would serve as chair of the foreign language department at North Carolina Central Universitys Durham campus. Jacksons nineteenth-century ancestors were progressive and spirited as well. Former slave Andrew Jackson, his paternal great-great grandfather, bought his own freedom and founded a Baptist church in Atlanta. And Jacksons maternal grandfather, John Wesley Dobbs, founded the Georgia Voters League.

In 1945, when Jackson was seven, the family moved to Atlanta, where his father became the pastor of the Friendship Baptist Church. A gifted and conscientious student, Jackson maintained top grades in Atlantas segregated schools, and for a time he considered becoming the third generation of Jacksons to become a Baptist minister. However, once into Morehouse College in Atlanta at the age of only fourteen as a Ford Foundation Early Admissions Scholar, Jackson chose to major in history and politics.

In 1956, after graduating from Morehouse with a bachelors degree, Jackson worked variously as a claims examiner in the Cleveland office of the Ohio State Bureau of Unemployment Compensation and in several positions with P. F. Collier, Inc., winding up as assistant district sales manager before he left. After several years in the work force, Jackson returned to school, and by 1964, he had earned his law degree cum laude from North Carolina Central University. He then went back to Atlanta, obtaining a position as a general attorney with the National

At a Glance

Born Maynard Holbrook Jackson, Jr., March 23, 1938, in Dallas, TX; son of Maynard Holbrook, Sr. (a Baptist minister), and Irene (a university foreign language department chair; maiden name, Dobbs) Jackson; married Burnell Bunny Hayes Burke (divorced, 1976); married Valerie Richardson, October 7, 1977; children: (first marriage) Elizabeth (stepdaughter from wifes first marriage), Brooke, Maynard III, Valerie Amanda, Alexandra. Education: Morehouse College, B.A., 1956; North Carolina Central State School of Law, J.D. (cum laude), 1964.

Ohio State Bureau of Unemployment Compensation, Cleveland, claims examiner, 1957-58; P. F. Collier, Inc., Boston, MA, Cleveland, OH, and Buffalo, NY, offices, c. 1958-61, began as salesman, became associate district sales manager; National Labor Relations Board, Atlanta, GA, general attorney, beginning 1964; admitted to the Bar of Georgia State, 1965; Emory Community Legal Service Center, Atlanta, became managing attorney, late 1960s; vice-mayor of Atlanta, 1970-73; Jackson, Patterson & Parks (law firm), Atlanta, cofounder and senior partner, beginning 1970; mayor of Atlanta, 1973-81 and 1989; Chapman & Cutler, Chicago, IL, Atlanta-based partner, beginning 1981.

Awards: Named to list of 200 young American leaders by Time, 1975, and the 100 most successful blacks by Ebony, 1976.

Addresses: Office Office of the Mayor, 68 Mitchell St. S.W., Atlanta, GA 30335.

Labor Relations Board. Jackson was admitted to the Georgia bar in January of 1965 and later joined the staff of the Emory Community Legal Services Center in Atlanta, an organization providing legal assistance to underprivileged clients.

Without much forward planning, Jackson decided to enter the June, 1968, Democratic primary race for the U.S. Senate. No one was surprised when he lost three to one against Herman Talmadge, the so-called number-one power in Georgia, but Jackson had reportedly entered because he felt the unopposed Talmadge needed some healthy competition. He received some surprising support from poor white farmers, who saw him as a feisty underdog, and from organized labor, who liked his endorsement of the repeal of portions of the Taft-Hartley Act, a doctrine defining relations between labor and management. Jackson claimed his loss a major victory for democracy, because it demonstrated the right of any American citizen to run for public office. And, in fact, Jackson felt the impressive showing he had made in so short a campaign proved that Georgians were ready for a black politician. He vowed to enter and to win the campaign for vice-mayor of Atlanta in 1969. Mobilizing the support of the black community and gaining one-third of the white vote, he defeated Milton Farris, a white businessman who had served on the Board of Aldermen (a body of city legislators) for thirteen years. As well as being sworn in as Atlantas first black vice-mayor on January 5, 1970, Jackson became president of the citys policy-making Board of Aldermen. Around the same time, he cofounded and became senior partner of Jackson, Patterson & Parksthe first firm of black lawyers in Georgias history.

Jackson devoted much of his time as vice-mayor to building up a support for the 1973 mayoral race. He ran against eleven other candidates, including the incumbent mayor, Sam Massell, and black state senator Leroy Johnson. Massell was felt by the electorate to be ineffectual in dealing with Atlantas problems, particularly the increasing crime rate in the city. Observers have indicated that the voters of Atlanta, half of them black, were ready for a black mayor, and Jacksons eloquence and minority rights convictions appealed to voters at a time of political apathy.

In the 1973 election, Jackson received 46.6 percent of the vote against Massells 19.8 percent. In the runoff campaign, Jackson stressed his own desire to unite blacks and whites in Atlanta and urged Massell to avoid racially divisionary tactics. But Massell openly addressed the fears of white voters. He labeled Jackson a reverse racist, pointing to Jacksons outspoken assertion that discrimination against blacks within the ranks of various city departments should be remedied by giving blacks hiring priority over whites. But Massells divisive and inflammatory strategy worked against him: he lost to Jackson in the runoff.

Jackson Elected Atlantas First Black Mayor

In his victory speech, JacksonAtlantas first black mayoraddressed an enthusiastic audience in the grandly rhetorical style that was to become characteristic of him: We have risen from the ashes of a bitter campaign to build a better life for all Atlantans, Jackson was quoted as saying in the New York Times. Determined to open the door of opportunity to all citizens, Jackson immediately set to work to revamp the city charter. The Board of Aldermen was replaced by an eighteen-member biracial city council. The city was divided into 24 planning districts, each of which held public hearings, giving a forum to every neighborhood and promoting new leadership within the neighborhood.

In his role of leading Atlanta through the difficult transition years from predominantly white leadership to a more equitable power balance, Jackson earned a reputation as an aggressive and outspoken mayor. The white business community was often offended and critical of what seemed to be a black involvement-at-any-cost attitude. When, in the early 1970s, plans for the construction of a new international airport came under consideration, Jackson stood in the face of opposition from the predominantly white business community by insisting that the project would not start unless minorities were given a fair share of the work. Skeptics predicted the project would be delayed and untold millions would be added to the cost. But, as reported in Ebony, the affirmative action plan worked: the airport was completed on schedule and under budget.

Jackson had a few confrontations when he first took over office. In May of 1974 he tried to fire police chief John Inman, whom he felt discriminated against blacks. Inman challenged the new city charter and Jacksons power under that charter but was eventually demoted. That same summer Jackson appointed black activist A. Reginald Eaves to the position of Public Safety Commissioner. Eaves was accused of inappropriately using his political influence, and his practice of increasing the recruitment of blacks in the police department was interpreted as reverse racism. However, Jackson refused to fire Eaves. When 1976 statistics showed a sharp decline in crime in Atlanta, Jacksons refusal was partially vindicated, but both the Inman and Eaves incidents caused some racial tension at the time.

Toward the end of Jacksons second term in office, Atlanta became the focus of widespread national attention over the serial murders of black children. The slayings had begun some time earlier, but until early 1981, they were not recognized as being connected. The murders continued but remained unsolved, and alarmed Atlantans became critical of the city police force, whose skills they felt were inadequate to solve the crimes. The matter became a nationwide concern, and the FBI finally stepped in. Jackson imposed curfews, appealed for federal help, and encouraged causes to benefit the families of victims. But until the perpetrator, Wayne B. Williams, was captured in 1981 and later convicted of the crimes, the unsolved murders threatened to overshadow Jacksons considerable achievements in his first reign in officeincluding the overall downturn in crime and homicide in Atlanta.

During Jacksons second term, the Atlanta city charter was changed to permit mayors only two consecutive four-year terms in office. At the end of his second term, Jackson could look back with some pride on his accomplishments as mayor. Although his aggressive manner of confronting racial inequity may have caused resentment, few could deny that his politics of inclusion had opened a new era in Atlantas history. Blacks were now full participants in a city that, prior to Jacksons administration, had kept them on the fringes of power.

Under Jacksons leadership Atlanta made serious gains as a financial center and distribution hub. Expanded international convention facilities turned Atlanta into a major convention center. In 1981, the prestigious Almanac of Places Rated named Atlanta the best major city in which to live and work. Jackson had taken advantage of affirmative action programs to improve city housing and social conditions. He also transformed the mass transit system into one of the most modern in the country.

In 1982, Andrew Young, a former U.S. congressman and ambassador to the United Nations, took over as mayor for the next two terms. During those eight years, Jackson worked as a bond lawyer and was the Atlanta-based partner with the Chicago firm of Chapman & Cutler.

Jacksons Mandate as Mayor Renewed

When Jackson decided to run for mayor again in 1989, he won the support of both the middle-class black and the business communities. He showed a reassuring balance between concern for residential interests and social equity and a desire to work closely with business. Jacksons strongest opponent, Michael Lomax, had earlier withdrawn from the race, convinced that he would be unable to defeat Jackson. Once Lomax withdrew, Jacksons victory was practically guaranteed, and on October 3, 1989, he swamped the only other creditable contender, Hosea Williams, by a four-to-one majority.

Despite Jacksons conciliatory approach to the business community in the election campaign, his previous aggressive pro-minority record had business leaders nervous about his return to office. But Jackson had earlier fought and won the minority rights battle, and the 1990s presented new problems that required a different strategy. As Jackson stated in the Christian Science Monitor shortly after returning to office: Its tougher this time around. There are fewer state and federal dollars and issues on my plate that werent even mentioned in the 1981 budget.

The issues Jackson was referring to included the AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) crisis, homelessness, the war on drugs, and the need for potable (or drinkable) water in the city. The rising crime rate also presented a serious problem, which Jackson has dealt with by appointing Eldrin Bell, a tough, traditional-minded, conservative chief of police. Though still a major concern, city crime decreased by 14 percent in 1990.

Some social activists have suggested that Jackson is too involved with currying the favor of the business community and is ignoring the problems of the poor and homeless. But Jackson, who sees himself as a champion of the underdog, is quick to deny such accusations, citing ambitious plans using public and private funds to rebuild homes and provide housing for the poor. With a depressed economy and a lack of federal support, Jackson knows he must encourage a healthy business climate if Atlantas economic well being is to continue.

Jackson describes Atlanta as a success-oriented city whose greatest strengths are its people and its ability to adapt to change. Now the trade and convention hub of the southern states, Atlanta has been chosen to host the 1994 football Super Bowl and the 1996 Summer Olympics. Jacksons political reputation reaches beyond Atlantas city limits. And since he is a relatively young politician who thrives on action and challenge, some observers predict he is likely to enter national politics.

Sources

Christian Science Monitor, September 12, 1991.

Ebony, December 1980; December 1986.

Forbes, September 24, 1980.

New York Times, October 18, 1973; January 28, 1981; February 1, 1981; April 12, 1981; July 16, 1988; February 19, 1989; January 7, 1991.

Newsweek, April 25, 1977.

PS: Political Science and Politics, June 1990.

U.S. News & World Report, April 7, 1975.

Heather Paterson Rhodes

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Jackson, Maynard 1938–." Contemporary Black Biography. . Encyclopedia.com. 28 Jun. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Jackson, Maynard 1938–." Contemporary Black Biography. . Encyclopedia.com. (June 28, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/jackson-maynard-1938

"Jackson, Maynard 1938–." Contemporary Black Biography. . Retrieved June 28, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/jackson-maynard-1938