You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myAJC.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myAJC.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myAJC.com.

New film examines an historic, local legacy


The photographs, which were projected on a screen, clicked by one by one, illuminating and documenting Atlanta’s history during an era dominated by one of the city’s great political figures.

  • Maynard Jackson at his inauguration, when he became the first African-American mayor of Atlanta.
  • Jackson in Tokyo with Billy Payne during the city’s bid for the 1996 Olympics.
  • Jackson at Atlanta Fulton County Stadium on the night Hank Aaron broke Babe Ruth’s home run record.
  • Jackson at a press conference during the notorious Atlanta child murders as he offered reward money for clues to solve the crimes.
  • Jackson with Nelson Mandela. With Muhammad Ali. With Jimmy Carter.

The list could go on and on, as Jackson occupies a singularly significant place in Atlanta’s history.

When he was elected mayor, Maynard Jackson became the first African-American mayor not just of Atlanta, but of any major Southern city. He would serve two terms, and then come back after Andrew Young to serve one more.

The airport is named after him, and among his most significant achievements was growing opportunity for African-Americans in Atlanta.

According to the New Georgia Encyclopedia, “As mayor, one of Jackson’s main priorities was to ensure that minority businesses received more municipal contracts, and he succeeded in raising the proportion from less than 1 percent to more than 35 percent. His crowning achievement as mayor was building the massive new terminal at Hartsfield Atlanta International Airport with significant minority participation, and in his own words, ‘ahead of schedule and under budget.’ ”

So what prompted spending this time clicking through historic pictures in a conference room at the AJC?

Well, first, it was interesting and informative. A group of the newspaper’s editors was joined by Jackson’s son, Maynard Jackson III, and daughter-in-law, Wendy Eley Jackson.

They are among the producers of a new documentary about the former Atlanta mayor, titled “Maynard.” As is obvious from that title, Jackson enjoys the notable status that permits use of just his first name.

We’d agreed to help them identify photographs from the AJC’s archives for use in the film. It also gave us the opportunity to review some Atlanta history, and get updated on how things are going with the film.

The documentary is in post-production stage, although there are still a few key people the filmmakers would like to interview, the Jacksons said. Those include former mayor Sam Massell and current Mayor Kasim Reed.

The film is being directed by Sam Pollard, an Oscar-nominated and Emmy-winning director. He’s worked on “Slavery by Another Name” and “Eyes on the Prize.”

As Pollard told our Jennifer Brett: “This country had a revolutionary change when Barack Obama was elected president. In many ways, what happened to Maynard Jackson in this city in 1973 and ’74 was a precursor to what happened to Obama.”

The hope is that the movie can be entered in the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. And Georgia Public Broadcasting has committed to airing the film as part of its “Georgia Greats” series.

(You can find more information about the film at maynardmovie.com)

It won’t be easy to cram Jackson’s remarkable life and career into 90 minutes.

Just the story of his staged boxing match with Ali could take up half the time — even before you got to all of the serious stuff.

The most enjoyable part of our conversation was hearing Maynard III and Wendy, an award-winning film producer, talk about personal moments the film may reveal.

Wendy emphasized that much of the film will deal with Jackson’s political career, and his commitment to service of others. But it will also show some other sides of her father-in-law.

“There was a part of him that was lonely,” she said.

“I could see he bore the weight of the city,” said Maynard III. “He wanted to make changes.”

Both emphasized the film will depict difficult situations Jackson faced, both political and personal.

For example, he struggled with his weight.

“His health was put on hold,” said Wendy. “Everyone has a vice. His was food.”

She noted that he had six heart bypass surgeries before his fatal 2003 heart attack.

The film will also portray difficult political moments, including his relationship with Reginald Eaves, the city’s public safety commissioner who resigned in a scandal involving promotions.

Wendy also expects the film to examine the Atlanta child murders, which occurred from 1979 to 1981 and represent a dark period in the city’s history.

“It’s not going to be all peaches and cream,” Maynard III said of the film.

If all goes as planned, we’ll be presented with the honest history of Atlanta as one of its towering figures lived it.

Jackson’s leadership and tremendous record will no doubt impress those new to his story and remind longtime friends and fans of his substantial legacy.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Opinion

Readers Write: April 27

What is state doing to attract good jobs? The fact that Volvo — now owned by a Chinese company — is soon to open a $500 million car plant in Berkeley County, South Carolina, must be a “slap in the face” for Georgia’s economic development community. The new Volvo plant is slated to directly employ initially 2,000, eventually...
VIDEO: 9 commonly mispronounced foods 
VIDEO: 9 commonly mispronounced foods 

There are lots of delicious foods to try, but some can be pretty difficult to pronounce. From gnocchi to gyro to acai, many don’t know exactly how to say certain edibles. Luckily, Business Insider has compiled a list of a few of the most challenging cuisine names to enunciate, breaking down the origins and the correct ways to pronounce them...
The Wall epitomizes the Trump approach to politics

At some level, at a basic gut level, this Trump thing was always about The Wall: The Wall as an imposing physical entity, The Wall as a symbol. The Wall as the emotional centerpiece of every rally. Donald Trump knows it. He knows it better than anyone. He knows that The Wall represents his covenant, his mutual pledge of faith to the people with the...
Misguided faith in government is unlearned lesson of LA riots

This weekend marks 100 days of the Trump administration. This milestone also coincides with a very important anniversary. Twenty-five years ago, riots exploded in Los Angeles after four policemen were acquitted in the violent beating of Rodney King. Sixty-three lives were lost in the riots, with the estimated total economic cost pegged at $1 billion...
Opinion: HPV vaccine is vote against kids’ cancers

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), every year nearly 39,000 people in the US will develop cancer associated with the human papilloma virus (HPV). The HPV vaccine can prevent the vast majority of those cancers, but only if the vaccine is used.  If you want to prevent your child from developing most HPV associated...
More Stories