- Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site
International Civil Rights: Walk of Fame
Maynard Jackson
Maynard Holbrook
Jackson, Jr.
1938 - 2003

Maynard Jackson was Atlanta's first African American mayor; he serve two consecutive terms (1974-1978; 1978-1982) and was elected for a third term in 1990. Jackson is best known for improving opportunities for African Americans to do business with the City of Atlanta, especially in the expansion of Hartsfield Airport-which has been renamed Hartsfield-Jackson Airport. Under his leadership African American contracts witih the City of Atlanta increased to thirty-five percent from a low of less than one percent. Jackson also reformed the City of Atlanta Police Department, changing it's reputation as a public agency that mistreated African Americans and limited opportunity for African American policemen. The death of Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968 prompted Jackson to enter politics for the first time. He ran against popular white supremacist Herman Tallmadge for a seat in the United States Senate. Although Jackson did not win (he received approximately one-third of votes cast), he described his campaign as successful because he wanted to energize Georgia's African American electorate to take advantage of the provisions of the Voting Rights Act passed in 1965. Jackson was actively involved in the National Democratic Party. He founded the African American Voters League (2001) and during the same year he strongly suppported the election of Shirley Franklin, Atlanta's first female mayor. At the time of his death in 2003, Jackson had been appointed to a top position in the National Democratic Party.

Maynard Jackson, Jr.'s father was the pastor of Friendship Baptist Church in Atlanta; his mother, Irene Dobbs Jackson, was a professor of French at Spelman College. Jackson's maternal grandfather, activist John Wesley Dobbs (1882-1961) provided a framework for Maynard's political life. Dobbs was known as the unofficial mayor of Auburn Avenue, an important street and symbol of African American progress and pride in Atlanta. Maynard Jackson was a child prodigy who graduated from high school at fourteen, and earned a degree from Morehouse College at the age of eighteen. He earned a law degree from North Carolina Central University (1964).

In 1990, Mr. Jackson founded the Maynard Jackson Youth Foundation, Inc. (a multi-focused leadership program teaching disadvantaged 11th grade students in Atlanta) where he actively served as Chairman and Principal Teacher. In 1994, Jackson returned to the private sector as Chairman of Jackson Securities headquartered in Atlanta. The firm was named one of the top five black investment companies by Black Enterprise magazine in 1996. At the time of his death, Mr. Jackson and his daughter, Brook, ran Jackson Securities, Inc.