Monument honoring Maynard Jackson unveiled at Oakland Cemetery

At 6-foot-3, former Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson, with his over-sized personality and booming voice, was a mountain of a man.

So it is fitting, said his widow, Valerie Jackson that a grand monument recognizing that, as well as his contributions to the city, be erected in his honor.

In June, on the 14th anniversary of Maynard Jackson’s death, Valerie Jackson unveiled a massive 14.5-foot, 14-ton obelisk atop the gravesite of her husband at the Oakland Cemetery. She said she wanted it to be at least twice as tall as her husband. 

The African-sourced honed black granite monument marks nearly every aspect of Jackson’s public life, including his work election as the city’s first black mayor, as well as his efforts to expand the Atlanta airport, fight for justice and equal rights, and help Atlanta get the Olympics.  

Maynard Jackson (pictured here getting a love pat from him mom) as Valerie Jackson looks on, became Atlanta’s first black mayor when he was elected in 1973. He died in 2003. AJC FILE PHOTO

On one side of the monument, the first line of poet Ella Wheeler Wilcox’s “Will” is engraved.  

"One of Maynard's notable attributes was his strong will and determination,” Valerie Jackson said. “The poem speaks of a determined soul, and it was only through Maynard’s determination in moving I-85 that a new airport terminal was built with minority as well as female participation.”  

Valerie Jackson personally designed the monument along with her brother, visual artist and photographer Monte Richardson. Brook Bolton, president and CEO of Roberts-Shields Memorial Company, produced and supervised the monument’s installation.  

“My ultimate goal was to build a fitting monument to this exceptional man, which will stand for centuries to come,” she said. 

»To read more about the memorial and to see more photographs, go to for the full story.

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