Almost 20 years later in 2009 — the year Reed won by a scant 714
votes — black voters had dropped to 48.6 percent compared to 44.1
percent white. The proportion was almost identical in 2015.
Despite the numbers,
Andrew Young, who in 1981 defeated Sidney Marcus, the last
major white candidate to run for mayor
, downplayed the role of race in this year's race.
“If you look back at the history of politics, the smartest, best
organized, and disciplined candidate has always won in Atlanta,” he
said. “Hartsfield was smarter. Ivan Allen was smarter. Sam Massell
was smarter. Maynard was smarter. That is why I don’t like the
question about race and don’t look at race. Race had nothing to do
Sam Massell, the last white mayor of the city, said when Jackson
made history against him in 1973, African Americans were motivated
by 125 years of not being represented politically to change the face
of Atlanta. Not much has changed, he said.
"The white community is increasing I am told, but the black
numbers are still the majority, so there is no reason they would
want to give it up,"
said Massell, president of the Buckhead Coalition. "They have the
motivation to keep it. The same as the white community may have
increased motivation to take it."
On Monday at 1 p.m., join AJC reporters Ernie Suggs and Leon
Stafford in a
conversation about the RE:Race series and their story “The