Premiere planned for “Maynard,” about Atlanta’s first black mayor

Maynard Jackson takes the oath of office on Jan. 7, 1974. AJC archives photo/Charles Pugh

Credit: Jennifer Brett

Credit: Jennifer Brett

Maynard Jackson takes the oath of office on Jan. 7, 1974. AJC archives photo/Charles Pugh

“Maynard,” the documentary about Atlanta’s first black mayor, will be screened Saturday night as part of the Atlanta Film Festival. See details and a link to buy tickets below.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution was the only Atlanta media outlet to cover the film's New York premiere in November.

"I'm old enough to remember when he first became mayor," Oscar nominated, Emmy-winning director, editor and producer Sam Pollard, said at the New York event. "It was like an astounding thing to see a Southern city elect a black mayor."

Pollard, whose work includes "Slavery By Another Name," "Eyes on the Prize," "25th Hour," "4 Little Girls," "When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts" and "Clockers," will be at Saturday's local premiere, as will Jackson's family members, Rev. C.T. Vivian and others.

MORE: Photos from Jackson's time in office

BEHIND THE SCENES: Our visit to the set during "Maynard" filming

FROM THE AJC ARCHIVES: Maynard Jackson's obituary

The film includes interviews with former President Bill Clinton, Revs. Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and Joseph Lowery Jackson's predecessor in office, former Atlanta Mayor Sam Massell and his successors including former Mayor and UN Ambassador Andrew Young, and former Mayors Shirley Franklin and Kasim Reed.

Sharpton attended the New York premiere.

“Atlanta was the capital of the South,” Sharpton said during his interview for the film. “For him to win the capital of the South and to be able to call the shots was huge.”

He shared some thoughts about the film and memories from his friendship with Jackson after the screening:

Jackson was elected in 1973 and in 1974 became the first black mayor not only of our town but of any major Southern city. He served eight years and then returned for a third term in 1990, after Young’s time in the position. Jackson played a vital role in bringing the 1996 Olympic Games to Atlanta. His key legacy, of course, is the Maynard H. Jackson Jr. International Terminal at what is now officially called Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

The AJC visited the filming set the day Franklin sat for an interview.

“He loved very deeply and was very passionate about his work,” she said. “Maynard’s advice to me when I was running was that I needed a ‘kitchen’ cabinet, not just a city cabinet. He always felt that you needed to have outside advice and counsel. For him, that was people from all walks of life.”

She also had a humorous anecdote to share, too. in 1975, the year of the famous "Thrilla in Manila" bout between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier, and Jackson got in the ring with Ali, a publicity lark that advertised the Atlanta Falcons.

Although Ali would prevail against Smokin' Joe in the Philippine Coliseum, he lost the "match" against Jackson. In the photo, the late Julian Bond, then a Georgia state senator who would go on to serve as chairman of the NAACP, holds Jackson's glove aloft in triumph.

As the photo opportunity neared, Jackson’s staff was tasked with finding him a pair of boxing trunks, but the sturdily built public servant wouldn’t reveal his size, Franklin said.

“They had to guess!” she said.

Saturday's screening of "Maynard" is planned for 7 p.m. at the Plaza Theatre, following a red carpet that starts at 6:30 p.m.

For details on the Atlanta Film Festival and ticket information


 Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson "knocked out" Muhammad Ali in 1975, with then Georgia state Sen. Julian Bond officiating. AJC archives photo/Billy Downs

Credit: Jennifer Brett

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Credit: Jennifer Brett