Maynard H. Jackson is elected as Atlanta’s first Black mayor.
1973 (Oct 16)
Maynard H. Jackson, a thirty-five-year-old attorney and vice mayor of the city of Atlanta, was elected mayor of the Deep South's largest city. Jackson defeated incumbent mayor Sam Massell in a campaign marred by Massell's injection of the race issue. Jackson ousted the city's first Jewish mayor to become the city's first Black mayor. Jackson, the son of a minister and a college professor, was educated at Morehouse College and North Carolina Central University Law School. He had run unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate in 1968 before being elected vice mayor in 1969. Jackson's election signaled a swing of political power from white to Black in Atlanta as Black Americans achieved equality on the eighteen-member city council and a slight majority on the nine-member school board. Slightly more than 50 percent of the population of Atlanta was Black at the time of Jackson's election, but whites held a slight edge in voter registration. Although opposed by many whites for his forthright opposition to alleged police brutality in Atlanta, Jackson appealed to voters of both races and captured at least 20 percent of the white vote cast in the election.