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Ex-Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson's funeral Saturday

Maynard H. Jackson Jr. in 1990
Maynard H. Jackson Jr. in 1990

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ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- Funeral arrangements for Maynard H. Jackson Jr., the first black mayor of Atlanta, Georgia, will be open to the public and include viewings at Morehouse College and City Hall -- two institutions that were integral in the trailblazing politician's life.

Jackson, 65, died Monday of a heart attack while on a business trip in Washington.

His body will lie in state at Atlanta City Hall from noon until 8 p.m. EDT Thursday, and on Friday, his remains will be in King Chapel on the Morehouse campus for another public viewing.

The funeral will begin at 11 a.m. Saturday in the Boisfeuillet Jones Atlanta Civic Center, and he will be buried in Oakland Cemetery.

Jackson was Atlanta's leading politician during the city's emergence as a regional metropolis in the 1970s.

He was the first African-American to run a major Southern city.

"Maynard really created the new Atlanta," said Bill Campbell, another former Atlanta mayor whom Jackson endorsed to succeed him in 1993. "What is known as the capital of the New South came from his insistence that minorities, including women, be allowed into business."

Jackson won his first term in October 1973, at age 35, becoming the city's youngest mayor.

"You could feel it," said former National Urban League President Vernon Jordan, a high school band mate of Jackson's. "I knew the South had changed."

During his first eight years in office, Atlanta expanded Hartsfield International Airport, now often ranked as the nation's busiest -- a project he boasted as completed on time and under budget.

"He was one of Atlanta's great salesmen," said Gary Pomerantz, an author who chronicled Jackson's career. Pomerantz compared him to Atlanta newspaper editor Henry Grady, the prophet of a "New South" a century earlier.

As mayor, Jackson pushed through a citywide affirmative action program that required municipal contractors to take on minority-owned businesses as partners and pressured the city's major law firms to hire black lawyers.

Campbell said Jackson "was to affirmative action what Martin Luther King was to civil rights." His affirmative action program, which drew sharp criticism from Atlanta business leaders at the time, "became a model for governments around the country," he said.

Jackson was born in 1938 in Dallas, Texas. His father was a minister who became pastor of one of the Atlanta's influential churches; his grandfather was a prominent segregation-era leader in Atlanta. Jackson received an undergraduate degree at Morehouse and later a law degree from North Carolina Central University.

Jackson served two terms as mayor, stepped aside for eight years, then sought and won a third term in 1989. During the last term, Atlanta received a successful bid to host the 1996 Olympic Games.

"I think he understood at a very young age that he was going to be a leader, Pomerantz said, "and the ballot -- politics -- is the way he was going to get there."

He unsuccessfully sought the job of Democratic National Committee chairman in 2001 but served as the party's national development chair.

U.S. Sen. Zell Miller, who was Georgia's governor during Jackson's last term as mayor, called Jackson "a good friend whose counsel I always sought."

"His passing leaves a huge vacuum of leadership that no one individual can ever fill," Miller said in a statement issued Monday. "There will never be another like him."


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