Maynard Holbrook Jackson Jr., born on March 23, 1938 in Dallas, Texas, was an American lawyer, politician and the first African American mayor in the city of Atlanta. He served eight years and then returned for a third term in 1990 following the term of Andrew Young. Jackson came from a respectable family being that his father was a Baptist minister and his mother a French instructor. He entered Morehouse College through a special-entry program and received a bachelor's degree in political science and history in 1956. After, he attempted to complete law school, but was forced to drop out. His determination to finish law school was infinite because he later enrolled at North Carolina Central University School of Law, where he received a J.D. degree in 1964. After completing his studies he found work as an attorney for the National Labor Relations Board in Atlanta.
Jackson was a member of the Democratic Party and decided to make his first attempt at elective office, in 1968, running for the U.S. Senate. Sadly, he was unsuccessful. Although he did not achieve victory, he caught the public's eye and gained the office of vice mayor of Atlanta in 1969. Jackson's victory in 1973 was seen as a turning point for Atlanta and what people called the “New South.” At that time, Atlanta's population was nearly 50 percent black, and Jackson implemented an affirmative action program to ensure that minorities shared the prosperity of the expanding city through municipal contracts. Jackson significantly improved opportunities for African Americans. Under his leadership African American contracts with 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 its reputation as a public agency that mistreated African Americans and limited opportunity for African American policemen. In addition, Jackson had critical influence over the expansion of Hartsfield Airport, which was later renamed Hartsfield-Jackson Airport in his honor. Among the many achievements of Jackson was the securing of Atlanta as the site of the 1996 Olympic Summer Games which generated large amounts of revenue and boosted the economic status of Atlanta.
Later on after being reelected in 1977, Jackson supported the successful candidacy of Andrew Young. During this time, Jackson worked as a municipal bond attorney while staying active in politics. In his third attempt to becoming mayor, he was easily swept into office with nearly 80 percent of the people vote. During his terms in office, Jackson did all in his will to change the city of Atlanta for the better. Jackson died in 2003 at the age of 65, of a cardiac arrest at an Arlington, Virginia hospital after he suffered a heart attack at the Reagan National Airport. Although Jackson is dead his actions made changes that impact our lives to this day!