Maynard Jackson, Jr. was an important figure in American politics. He was part of a generation of black empowerment figures who took the civil rights movement to the next level. Maynard, like other mayors of his generation, Carl Stokes, Thomas Bradley, Richard Hatcher, took the civil rights movement from the streets to the corridors of government and corporate America. And what they achieved and sometimes failed at is a powerful story of how the urban cities became populated by a large black population, and the impact that had on a changing American landscape in some of the major U.S. cities during the turbulent 1960s and ever-changing 1970s.
But that is not the only story of Maynard Jackson, Jr. Beyond the arc of his political career there is a more intimate story of a man. A man who had big shoes to fill with a grandfather, John Wesley Dobbs, who was a distinguished black leader in Atlanta, as well as parents, aunts, uncles and friends who were model representatives of the burgeoning middle class black community in Atlanta.
This is the story of a man who understood what his mission was in life but who had the strength, heart and soul of his loved ones as he faced incredible odds both positive and negative as the first black mayor of a major Southern city. The obstacles he faced with the creation of the Atlanta International Airport and his empowerment of minority contractors. His fight to end endemic racism in the city government, and the struggles he faced to end the series of missing and murdered children in Atlanta between 1979 and 1981.
Maynard is the story of a mayor, grandson, husband, father, and friend whose journey was about being a human being who wanted to achieve much for himself and his people.