Interview with Maynard Jackson
QUESTION 3
JACKIE SHEARER:

Atlanta went through the '60s with a national reputation for dialogue between the races. When you became mayor, you sounded a theme of new partnerships for the city. What were you looking to change?

MAYNARD JACKSON:

I wanted to move it from talk to action.

JACKIE SHEARER:

Ah, excuse me, could you begin that with, "I wanted to."

MAYNARD JACKSON:

OK. When I became mayor, what I wanted to do was to, ah, move us from an era where we were doing more acting than just talking. You see, Atlanta is, in my opinion, um, truly ahead of every other major city in the country in race relations. But the problem with that is, um, what James Baldwin warned us about, you know, havens are high-priced, and the price that a haven-dweller has exacted of him is to delude himself into believing that he's found a haven. So, we were kind of believing all of our headlines and our


too much. We're the best but we weren't good enough, that's my point. So, we had to kind of begin to own up to our, our future. And, ah, if we're going to lead the nation, fine, we had to match our rhetoric with our action. And as mayor, what I wanted to do was to lead us, not just Black people, but all people, Black and White, into an era of where we truly could begin to point at progress, not just for a few people, but systemic progress. Some may benefit more than others at first, but after a while, when the system begins to work, large numbers of people are benefited. And that was what I wanted to do. And we did so. But I have the scars. I have the scars to prove that it was, ah, not easy.