The childhood home of former Atlanta mayor Maynard Jackson is shown at 220 Sunset Avenue NW in Atlanta, Ga., on Tuesday, May 7, 2019. The home, which has fallen into disrepair, is set to be demolished. (Casey Sykes for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Photo: Casey Sykes/Casey Sykes
Photo: Casey Sykes/Casey Sykes

Home of first black Atlanta mayor to become affordable housing

Instead of being demolished, the home of Atlanta’s first black mayor, Maynard Jackson, will be preserved and turned into affordable housing for Atlanta University Center graduate students and researchers.

The King Center sold the 220 Sunset Ave. home to the Westside Future Fund, a nonprofit committed to revitalizing Atlanta’s historic westside communities, the center announced Thursday in a news release detailing plans for the home. The sale price was not released.

“After hearing the concerns of Vine City residents and conducting research on the history of the property, we redirected our efforts to ensure the property was not demolished but preserved,” King Center CEO Bernice King said in a statement. “Vine City was not only my home, but it holds a special place in the Civil Rights Movement and we want to ensure the very people that built that community and their descendants have fair housing options as the neighborhood changes.”

Oct, 1973 - Atlanta, Ga - Maynard Jackson hugs his mother, Dr. IRene Dobbs Jackson, and his wife, Bunnie.
Photo: AJC staff

Last year, the city approved the demolition of the four-unit apartment building in Vine City despite resident complaints — many of them citing the home’s importance to Atlanta’s black history. The historic street is also where civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. and wife Coretta Scott King raised their four children. That home — at 234 Sunset Avenue — was sold to the U.S. National Park Service in 2019.


King Center CEO backs demolition of first black Atlanta mayor’s home

Demolition plans for first black Atlanta mayor’s home on hold

The 220 Sunset Ave. home was built in 1948 by family patriarch Rev. Maynard Holbrook Jackson Sr. His widow, Irene Dobbs Jackson, owned the home until 1965. In 1973, Maynard Jackson was elected as the first black mayor of a major Southern city. Atlanta’s airport, Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, bears his name along with that of another former Atlanta mayor, William B. Hartsfield.

Demolition plans were eventually halted after Vine City residents, Bernice King and the U.S. National Park Service agreed to study if the home could be saved. Bernice King previously said the home contained asbestos, was structurally unsound, and had a caved-in roof, among other issues.

The caved in roof is seen through a barred window at the childhood home of former Atlanta mayor Maynard Jackson at 220 Sunset Avenue NW in Atlanta, Ga., on Tuesday, May 7, 2019. The home, which has fallen into disrepair, is set to be demolished. (Casey Sykes for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Photo: Casey Sykes/Casey Sykes

Plans for the property call for the Westside Future Fund to lease the property to the Atlanta University Center to house graduate students, researchers, and faculty studying Atlanta’s Civil Rights Movement and leadership. Once the property has been restored, the AUC will identify potential tenants and oversee the selection process.

The Westside Future Fund will also apply for historic status from the State Historic Preservation Office to help preserve the building.

“We understand the cultural history attached to the homes located on Atlanta’s Westside. Preservation remains a key priority,” the organization’s CEO and President John Ahmann said in a statement. “A number of our city’s African American leadership - past and present - were raised in these neighborhoods.”

The building’s restoration is expected to begin by October. 

Like Intown Atlanta News Now on Facebook | Follow us on Twitter

In other news:

The Supreme Court appears likely to rule that states may not exclude religious schools from programs that provide funding to private school students. The court’s conservatives said excluding private schools because they are religious amounts to discrimination similar to racial bias. Justice Samuel Alito Jr. 37 states forbid sending tax money to churches or church schools. In the case of Espinoza v. Montana, the Montana Supreme Court struck down a 2015 state law that gave tax credits to people who donated

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.