Our Bi-monthly Profile of a Great HBCU Alum Who Isn't With us Anymore
Maynard Jackson Jr.
(1938 – 2003)
Presented to you
By K. Lerone Hardy – September 9, 2020
In this edition of our bi-monthly feature, Not Forgotten, we bring to you the late Maynard Jackson Jr. who was a proud alum of Morehouse College.
In plain talk, this was one bad brotha right here who to this day doesn't receive the respect he rightfully deserves, as it pertains to his overall contribution to the upliftment of African Americans. Yeah, we can talk about how he graduated from the distinguished Morehouse College at the age of 18, or we can talk about how Mr. Jackson became the first African American to serve as Mayor of a major southern city - (that city being Atlanta), Atlanta, GA that is.
Instead, let’s talk about how that bustling financial oasis, named Atlanta, became the financial powerhouse that it is today, "the black mecca" as it is often referred to. Let's talk about that massive airport terminal, today known as Hartsfield - Jackson Atlanta International Airport. That airport is today, the largest and busiest airport in America. Maynard Jackson Jr made that happen.
Let's talk about all of those well to do African Americans in Atlanta, (not the new arrivals of late), I'm talking about prior to 1990 , Maynard Jackson Jr, paved the way for African Americans in Atlanta to get a fair shake and once they did, that black wealth within the city took off, in just two terms in office - Maynard Jackson increased the number of minorities receiving municipal contracts from less than 1 percent (prior to him becoming mayor) to more than 35 percent upon completion of his two terms in office.
All of this happened via his mandated affirmative action programs that forced the racist good old boy system to even out the pie, making sure that huge citywide projects throughout the city went to minorities, i.e. women, people of color and those with disabilities.
One of Maynard Jackson's first bold moves, was holding up the construction of Hartsfield Atlanta International Airport - at the time one of the largest airport construction projects in the country - Mr. Jackson made it clear to the racist good old boy (white male club), that not a single piece of dirt would be moved until that airport project has minority set asides attached to the project.
Maynard Jackson eventually got his way and today the city of Atlanta is still reaping the rewards of that airport project that took place years ago, i.e...the successful minority companies that got their start on that airport project, some of those same companies are now being passed on to the second generation of these proud minority owned family businesses, the city is still benefiting handsomely from the tax revenue that the airport pumps into Atlanta.
Oh! Let's not forget about him playing a major role in having Atlanta being the host for the 1996 Olympic Games. Maynard Jackson Jr - you are indeed not forgotten.