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Eyes on the Prize
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Maynard Jackson (1938-2003)

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Mayoral candidate Maynard Jackson speaking at microphones, October 1973.

The son of a prominent Atlanta pastor, Maynard Jackson became the city's vice mayor in 1969 and won the top position four years later when he was just 35 years old. The first African American mayor of a major Southern city, Jackson promised to create a "people's administration" and increase economic opportunity for all. To that end he instituted affirmative action programs that upped the number of black municipal employees and the percentage of city contracts that went to black-owned businesses. Jackson faced resistance from the white business community but the city saw unprecedented economic and civic growth during his tenure. He was twice re-elected and helped bring the Olympics to Atlanta in 1996.

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