Maynard Holbrook Jackson was a trailblazer. He was the first African American to be elected Mayor of Atlanta, in fact, the first black mayor of a major southern city. As a strategic leader, Mayor Jackson left a unique legacy. He built the world's busiest airport, "on time and on budget" while insisting that all of Atlanta's citizens had the opportunity to benefit from the city's development. He lead the crusade to bring the 1996 Olympics to Atlanta; laying the groundwork for the revitalization of downtown Atlanta as a thriving business and residential community and inspiring the responsible redevelopment of more than 20 of Atlanta's historic neighborhoods. Maynard pulled people together to change Atlanta for the better, always holding to his principles, even under pressure to abandon them.
Jackson graduated from Morehouse College at age 18 as a Ford Foundation Early Admission Scholar, earning a B. A. in political science and history. He then went on to earn the Juris Doctor degree cum laude from the School of Law at North Carolina Central University. He was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and the recipient of seven honorary degrees. Jackson worked his way through school as a waiter, tobacco picker, librarian, and encyclopedia national sales trainer.
Mayor Jackson founded the Maynard Jackson Youth Foundation in 1992. After completing a third successful term as Mayor of Atlanta, Jackson returned to private business in January 1994. He was married to Valerie Richardson Jackson and the father of four daughters and one son.