CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
A Tribute to Late Manyard Jackson
Aired June 28, 2003 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: This is a CNN special report.
FREDRIKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone.
You looking at live pictures right now of the Atlanta Civic Center where ceremonies under way honoring the man who's been known as Atlanta's first black mayor, a pioneer of civil rights and of the political community, as well. Gathering there, many elite members of the political, business, and civil rights communities are gathering to say goodbye to Maynard Jackson.
The three-term mayor had a larger than life presence in Atlanta and national politics spanning three decades. At the Atlanta Civic Center right there that your looking live pictures at. Some of the dignitaries set to eulogize the former mayor, and the include Coretta Scott King, the widow of the slain civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Georgia Congressman, John Louis, former presidential candidate, Jesse Jackson, and former President Bill Clinton. The room is filled with less prominent citizens on the very rainy, dreary Saturday morning in Atlanta. Though we remembering the man that led the city as it emerged as a progressive southern metropolis.
Maynard Jackson died of a heart attack this week at the age of 65. He collapsed at Washington's Ronald Reagan airport. Was resuscitated and then passed away on the way to the hospital.
You're looking at live pictures right now of former president Bill Clinton walking in along with a number of other thousands of dignitaries that is are now filing in of the Civic Center. The former president among those eulogizing Maynard Jackson. Others set to eulogize -- your seeing pictures of former Georgia Governor Roy Barnes, as well as U.S. Congressman John Lewis. You're also seeing to the right, near the podium there, current mayor of Atlanta, Shirley Franklin.
Our Gary Tuchman, national correspondent, just outside the Civic Center there. You have seen a number of the people who have already filed in. It is expected, Gary, I understand, just might be standing room only.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right, Fredrika. But notable about this is members of the public are invited to come here, too, to the Atlanta Civic Center building which is here in downtown Atlanta. It's about 4600 people. I was just inside about 10 minutes ago and it was almost full. And expected to be full withstanding room only once this memorial service with the celebration of the life of Maynard Jackson begins happening at any in minute.
You know, in the not so recent history of the city of Atlanta, Georgia, city best known as the place that General Sherman Burns, most recent history, known as a city not suffering as much violence as other southern cities during the civil rights era, the heart of it in the 1960s. Many people often described Atlanta as the city too busy to hate. Part of the reason for that is this is the place where Martin Luther King, Jr. lived. And the place where Maynard Jackson lived, the first black mayor of Atlanta. But not only the first black mayor of Atlanta, but the first black mayor of any large city in the southern United States.
It was considered very symbolic. Importantly symbolic by most black people and many white people becoming mayor in 1974. Won election, an election day in November 1973. Served as mayor from '74 to '78. Ironically, took the oath of office in this very same building where his life is being remembered today.
He then won a second term in 1978 and served from until 1982. He then decided to go to the business world. Eight years later, wanted to be mayor again. Ran again in 1990 and one again, won election, his third term. He ended up serving 12 years as the mayor of Atlanta. During his third term, he helped garner the Olympics for Atlanta, Georgia, as you recall the 1996 Olympics held in the southern city and Maynard Jackson considered a main cog for getting Olympics to this town. He also presiding over the building of a new airport here in Atlanta. And if any of you have done any flying in the United States, you know that Hartsfield International Airport is a place where you stop over in between other cities. And that's what made it the busiest airport in the world in terms of the number of passengers who fly in and out every year and that was under Maynard Jackson's watch.
Speaking today, eulogizing Maynard Jackson, they been told to keep the speeches short. Three minutes they're being told, because there are so many speakers, included Bill Clinton, the former president of the United States as you said. We ought to tell you speaking today, Coretta Scott King, the widow of Martin Luther King, Jesse Jackson, the current mayor of Atlanta Shirley Franklin. We should tell you not only is a black mayor, she's the first women mayor here in Atlanta. So the memorial service is about to start.
Fredrika, we toss it back to you.
WHITFIELD: Gary, let me ask you as you're talking about the long list of dignitaries who are invited to be there as well as to speak, lets talk about the ordinary citizens that are there, as well. A number of people, I (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and some people who have worked on the campaign trail over the years with Maynard Jackson. And others feel like they've benefited from the programs of equity that Maynard Jackson is being credited as bringing to the city.
TUCHMAN: Well, there's no question about it. There are many people who live here in Atlanta, population about 450,000, that's one thing interesting about the Atlanta area, that during the civil rights era, in the late '60s, many people, particularly whites, left the city of Atlanta. This metropolitan area now has about 4.5 million people. The city itself has shrunk, about 450,000 people, 10 percent of the metropolitan area.
But many of the people who lived here then and who continue to live here now, said it became a much better and fairer city after man Maynard Jackson became mayor here. Many, just ordinary members of the public coming down coming down the streets in downtown Atlanta and in there right now mingling with people like Bill Clinton and Jesse Jackson, participating in what they call a celebration of Maynard Jackson's life. It's a terrible tragedy, he have 65 years old suffering the heart attack last Monday at Reagan's National Airport. He has had health problems, with his heart, diabetes but he was only 65 years old.
WHITFIELD: Gary Tuchman, Outside the Atlanta Civic Center there as people continue to file in. We're going to be hearing momentarily once people have all taken their seats and found a place in which to rest for the next hour or so. Dr. William Vincent Guy is a pastor of Friendship Baptist Church. He will be the presiding pastor of this ceremony.
For now, we do want to reflect on the life and legacy of Maynard Jackson. He was a powerful presence, both physically at 6'3", and politically.
CNN's Art Harris recalls Jackson's larger than life legacy.
MAYNARD JACKSON, MAYOR OF ATLANTA: Here I am, Action Jackson.
ART HARRIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Maynard Jackson, first black mayor of a major southern city in 1973. At a time when the new south was still racially charged. Jackson threw the white establishment a political curveball, affirmative action.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Maynard was a lion of a man.
HARRIS: Jackson, turned black political power into economic clout. He held up a $400 million airport expansion. Until minorities got a fair share of the contracts to build it. And bridged a racial divide to help put Atlanta on the world map. Even winning over unlikely allies.
NEWT GINGRICH, FORMER HOUSE SPEAKER: Maynard was a very important leader in, I think, in the struggle to create a more open and a more integrated America.
HARRIS: Under Jackson, Atlanta won the Olympics.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Atlanta.
HARRIS: And the Braves got to the World Series.
Jackson pedaled clean air trying to peddle off pounds. After eight years out of office, he won a third term in 1989. With more than 90 percent of the black vote, and 65 percent of the white vote.
JACKSON: Georgians of the new south came together across lines of race and class.
HARRIS: Son of a preacher, a family man, Jackson had a commanding presence. He missed the civil rights movement in the streets, but won economic battles in the corporate suites. In 1993, he left public office, but never public life. He opened Jackson Securities. And as a minority firm, did a hefty bond business with the city. He had bypass surgery, fighting his girth, even as he retained the mirth. Even has he recalled the first election.
JACKSON: I don't want it to be the defining thing. I mean, at first, my full name was Maynard Jackson, first black mayor of Atlanta. Like an e-mail address, right?
HARRIS: Art Harris, CNN, Atlanta.
WHITFIELD: Jackson was a powerful political force as a first black mayor of a major city in the south. It was 1973 when he was first elected. The same year Tom Bradley and Coleman won majorities in Los Angeles and Detroit.
From L.A. this hour, our senior political analyst Bill Schneider joins us with reflection on Jackson's political life.
And Bill, I spoke with a former labor secretary, Alexis Herman (ph), who is among those who credit Maynard Jackson as being one who helped inspire her political career.
He really is credited with inspiring a lot of political careers, isn't he?
WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: That's right, he is. You should note that he was elected mayor not only as the first African-American mayor of Atlanta, but as the first, but I think still the youngest, 35 years old. And every candidate that he endorsed as his successor, Andrew Young and Bill Campbell and now Shirley Franklin, the current mayor, he endorsed. The influence continued even after leaving the office.
He has a towering figure in Atlanta and inspired other cities, not just in the south, but across the country because his model of affirmative action used to expand Hartsfield Airport to the busiest airport in the country duplicated all over the country. It was a model that was essentially joint ventures where white firms, white- owned firms would partner with minority firms, and in the end, the Atlanta airport expansion came in on time and under budget. And he was always very proud of that. That model of affirmative action very controversial proposing it has become a model for cities all over the country.
WHITFIELD: Bill, thank you very much.
Let's listen in right now at the Atlanta Civic Center. Listening to Dr. William Vincent Guy, pastor of Friendship Baptist Church. DR. WILLIAM VINCENT GUY, FRIENDSHIP BAPTIST CHURCH: Eternal God in whom we come and live and move and have our being, and to whom we return, we pause before you. We thank you for your gift of life. And for the life of your servant Maynard Jackson. As we contemplate your gifts through him, bless us in the course of this service and in the times ahead. In your holy name, we pray, amen.
We've come this weekend from far and near to join in celebrating Maynard's life. Thousands of us who have been touched by this great man would have much to say. Even I, as his pastor have my Maynard moments that I must restrain from sharing. With such a full program then, each of our participants has been asked to observe the limited time allotments provided and this will not be easy with so much to share. But we trust that they will do the best they can in honoring the time.
All of us with the family appreciate those who are contributing to this service of celebration through music, the spoken word, and support. Following the readings of scripture, a group composed of persons who have come from across the country directed by Dr. David Morrow (ph) will sing. It's a group for which Maynard himself would have qualified. Made up of glee club members and alumni glee club members of Moorehouse College. They will also add a traditional Moorehouse College number during the recessional, "Prayer from Lowengred (ph)." In celebration, in thanksgiving, we will proceed in the order printed on our program.
REVEREND ELIZABETH CLEMENT, DEARFIELD ACADEMY: On another occasion, David sang lament in this way, your glory, oh Israel, lies slain upon high places. How have the mighty fallen. Here now from that same heart this song of triumph and confidence. A favorite of Maynard's. The lord is my light and my salvation. Whom shall I fear? The lord is the stronghold of my life. Of whom shall I be afraid? When evil doers assail me to devour my flesh, my adversaries and foes, they shall stumble and fall. Though an army and camp against me, my heart shall not fear. Though war rise up against me, yet I will be confident. One thing I ask of the lord that I will seek after.
To live in the house of the lord all the days of my life to behold the beauty of the lord and to (UNINTELLIGIBLE) in his temple for he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble. He will conceal me under the cover of his tent. He will set me high on a rock. Now, my head is lifted up above my enemies all around me, and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy. I will sing and make melody to the lord. Hear, oh lord, when I cry aloud. Be gracious to me and answer me. Come, my heart says. Seek after his face. Your face, lord, do I seek. These words that comfort to the family, to all who hear.
REVEREND GERALD DURLEY, PROVIDENCE MISSIONARY BAPTIST: Continuing to seek the scriptures for comfort to this family, John on the aisle of Papmas (ph) saw a new city, which gave him the same type of hope that we hope that the word he wrote then, we give to you, the Jackson family.
John in seeing in the moment of hopelessness, he says, he will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning. The crying will cease and there will be no more pain. For the old order of things have passed away. He who was seated on the throne said I'm making everything new. Then he said, write these things down. These words are trustworthy and true. He said to me, it is done. I am the alpha and the omega. The beginning and the end. To him who is thirsty, I will give to drink. Without any cost from the spring of the water of life. He who overcomes will inherit all of this and I will be his god and he will be my son. Let the lord add a blessing reading, hearing and acting and may these words bring comfort to the Jackson family.
MAYOR SHIRLEY FRANKLIN, ATLANTA, GEORGIA: To Valerie Jackson and the entire Jackson family, to President Clinton, Andrew Young, my mentor, and other distinguished guests. Before we begin the program as listed, I would like to bring forward Mr. Alfonzo Jackson, deputy secretary for Housing, Urban Development, to read a message from President George Bush, please join me.
ALFONZO JACKSON, DEPUTY SECRETARY FOR HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT: Before reading the message, Valerie, I was eating dinner last night and talking to Michael Holis and I want to say this to you, when I think of Maynard, I think what Shakespeare said in "Romeo and Juliet." And he shall die, take him and cut him out in little stars. And he shall make the face of heaven so fine that the world will love with the night and not worship the sun.
To Valerie, Gloria and I are saddened to learn of the loss of Maynard. Maynard served the community with distinction. We know you and your family will proud of the dedicated service. We know what a difficult time this is for you, and we send our heart felt sympathy. Please know that you are in your prayers. May you be comforted by the fate and the love and the support of family and friends. God bless you and your family, President George W. Bush.
FRANKLIN: Good morning. We are gathered today to celebrate the life and legacy of Maynard Holbrooke Jackson, our friend and my mentor. In the course of this service, many will share their stories about Maynard. We who love him will talk about Maynard recalling his lessons, and his advice for the rest of our lives. For he lives in our hearts. I am humbled to represent the city of Atlanta, he loved so dearly. The many city officials and employees who are here today and those who served with him in city government.
I join with thousands of Atlantians to thank you, Valerie, and the Jackson family, for sharing Jackson with us. First touching my life in Alabama, when he lectured at Talladega Collage in 1970. Little did I know that he would become such an important influence on my life and my family. Never had I met someone so bold, so determined to succeed, so committed to public service. Maynard was a fearless, courageous, audacious leader.
For me, Maynard was a lion, a lion of a man, a man for all seasons, a model for leadership in our complicated, complex world. Maynard was self confident and willing to sacrifice personally for the things he believed in. He lavished his love on Atlanta, and the people of Atlanta. We loved him back. And in fact, Maynard had our back. And I stand before you as mayor of Atlanta because of and by the intention of Maynard Holbrooke Jackson.
FRANKLIN: Some years ago he gave me an ultimatum. He said, run for mayor or get out of the way. I negotiated a year to think about the race, but one year to the day, he called my hand. You know the rest of the history. Maynard lived a life that mattered, a life that made a positive impact on people's lives. That transformed Atlanta into an international city by breaking down racial, gender, and economic barriers. And he did that which was right in the sight of the lord. He redefined the power, perspective and perception of black elected leadership, especially mayor by his unwavering commitment to affirmative action, and minority business enterprise.
In my father's day, he would have been known as a race man. Maynard had the face of Sarah, the resolve of Mary McLeod Bethune, the strength of Harriet Tubman and the ingenuity of Madame C.J. Walker.
FRANKLIN: He was a proud man who succeeded in politics and business, overcoming incredible business obstacles and once succeeding, he welcomed all to benefit. It is said that what we are is god's gift to us. What we become is our gift to god. Maynard gave his all. With his election, he ushered in a new era of politics. Maynard, we hear your voice. We see your smile. We see feel your hugs. And we understand the call to service. Thank you.
REP. JOHN LEWIS (D), GEORGIA: Valerie, and all members of the Jackson family, my brothers and sisters, sometimes we don't quite understand it, but as a people of faith, we know that our god will never, ever put more on us than we can bear. God is good. We have come to honor and celebrate the life of one of Atlanta's greatest leaders. A man who made Atlanta the city that it is today. Maynard Jackson -- Maynard Jackson the son of the American south, the citizen of world. I truly believe that Maynard Jackson must be looked upon as one of the founding fathers of the new Atlanta, the new south, and the new America.
LEWIS: It was the great educator, first man that said, be afraid to die until you have won some victory for humanity. Be afraid to die until you have won some victory for humanity. Be afraid to die until you have won some victory for humanity. Judged by this standard, Maynard should have had no fear of death. We're more than lucky. We are blessed for having had Maynard Jackson pass our way. Maynard Jackson allowed himself to be used by the spirit of history. He just got in the way to serve the common good. The cause for the leadership, division and dedication of just one man, our city, state and nation will never, ever be the same.
LEWIS: Because of his energy, vigor, vitality and passion, Maynard stayed engaged in the arena of life. Look around this hall. Look at the diverse men, women and children who have come to show their respect, their love, than you will see the Atlanta, the communities that Maynard Jackson have created. We will miss Maynard Jackson. Atlanta will miss him. But we will never, ever forget him. He left his mark on each and every one of us.
LEWIS: So thank you, Maynard. Thank you for your service. Thank you for giving your heart, your soul, your very being to the benefit of all human kind. Your work on this earth is done. And we're the better for it. Thank you, Mr. Mayor. Thank you, Mr. Mayor. Thank you, Maynard. Thank you, brother. We love you. Thank you, and god's speed.
ROY BARNES, FMR. GEORGIA GOVERNOR: We come here today to honor a great man. And I come to honor a great friend. Maynard Jackson was a bear of a man. But he had to have a body that's big to house the heart that beat within his soul.
BARNES: He never saw a stranger. He never helped or failed to help anyone who asked him for it. And he helped multitudes without any request at all. I liked Maynard Jackson. And I enjoyed being around him. A couple of weeks ago, he called me Atlanta Legal Aid. And he said, let's go to lunch. We both agreed we'd stay just one hour. But of course, we knew we would stay three and we did. We always tried to set time limits because we both liked each other, and we both liked to talk. In fact, one guy once said that listening to the two of us was like listening to an auctioneer's chant.
Anyway, we met in midtown. And I watched Maynard come in. We shook hands with everybody that he saw. And to those that he didn't know he made them repeat their name so that he could remember it the next time. He never quit adding friends to his circle of life.
BARNES: On that bright, sunny day, we sat outside and talked of politics, and gossiped, of course, as all politicians do. But we also talked of life. About how both of us were so lucky to have wives that loved us, and children who were doing so well in their professions. Oh, how he loved this family of his. I'm glad we had that last lunch, because he was full of life. And that's exactly how I want to remember him. Maynard Jackson lived every day to the fullest. And we are all the better for it. He also had a great sense of humor. I have to tell you this one little story. Once, Maynard and Mary and I were sitting and talking. The book "Where Auburn Meets P Street," had came out, where Maynard's family history was traced, and of course, his Cobb County roots were fresh on his mind.
Maynard and Mary began the talk. Maynard said that his family was originally from Cobb County where they were slave of a family known as the Dobbs and McAfee (ph). Mary said, my maiden name was Dobbs. They began to compare ancestors, and all of a sudden, Maynard exclaimed, Mary, we're cotton cousins!
Every time since then whenever they would meet, they would hug each other and call each other cousin in the southern tradition. As I was recalling that story for these remarks, I thought of how far the south has come when as Martin Luther King, Jr, once said, the sons and daughters of save owners and the sons and daughters of slaves can become one people.
BARNES: Yes, we have come a long way. And it is largely because of a handful of people with courage like Maynard Jackson.
BARNES: Courage, courage to bring about change when change was unwelcome and resisted. But that change has made us a more inclusive society. Maynard Jackson was also a visionary. He could see beyond the next horizon and understand how to get things done. He was one that -- the one that pushed me to undertake a regional approach to transportation. He guided me and taught me that the Atlanta region had to be served in an unified transportation setting. Because the prosperity of the state depended on the Atlanta region. The Georgia Regional Transportation or GRETA is as much his creation as it is mine.
I leave others to chronicle the great deeds of Maynard Jackson. But I want to end with one final thought. One of the other things that Maynard and I would talk about from time to time was the bible. Again, we had something in common. He came from a long line of preachers. I came from a long line of sinners. Maynard knew the bible as well as any person I have ever known. We both loved and admired the Apostle Paul. And one of our verbal jousts that we would undertake from time to time was to quote Paul from the many book that is he authored in the new testament. There is one quote from Paul that I think is most fitting today.
And the time of departure has come. I have fought the good fight. I have finished the course. I have kept the faith. Goodbye, my old friend.
ANDREW YOUNG, FORMER ATLANTA MAYOR: Thanks very much, Roy, and thank you.
Maynard Jackson was a member of the Democratic party, but Maynard Jackson was never a Democrat. Maynard Jackson was an aristocrat.
(APPLAUSE) YOUNG: He was an aristocrat not by birth, but by achievement. He stood in that long line of aristocracies starting with Moses, although pharaoh had the title and control of the people, Moses dragged them kicking and screaming into the promised land.
YOUNG: So Maynard did with us. He would never take no for an answer. If we needed to build an airport and there was no place, he went to Bill Coleman and said, Mr. Secretary, we need to tear up this road, and put the airport there.
What will we do with the road? Put it somewhere else.
There was no telling Maynard no when he thought and he always thought he was right. We hassled over my being mayor because, I did not want to be mayor and I was determined the stand up to him and say, look, I have served my time, I've marched, been to jail, been beaten. And, I -- and I'm through with politics. I've had the U.N. and the Congress, I do not want the troubles of this city. And he looked me in the eye and he said, OK, but will you come to a meeting and help us decide who should be mayor. I said, of course.
When I got to the meeting, Sister Susan Labore (ph) said Andy -- and I know Maynard put her up to it. She said, we need you to run for mayor. I said, no, ma'am. She said, listen, boy when you came here, you wasn't nothing. We made you somebody. I said, I was still holding on. I said, no, Martin Luther King made me somebody. She said, we made him, too. Next thing I know, I was putting on bumper stickers, running up and down the street, shaking hand, swearing to a life of poverty, chastity and obedience. That's what politics requires.
But Maynard Jackson was in the tradition of Benjamin Maze, of John Westerly Dobbs, of Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth and WEB Dubois, Marcus Garvey and he stood his ground no matter what the odds. He not only stood up to me and to you, and to his family, he stood up to our business community. He stood up to our nation and our Democratic party. He stood up to our state and quite often, everybody was upset with him, including his family. But looking back, he was almost always trying to do the right thing in the right way for everybody.
Let's not stop. Let's not stop with affirmative action at the airport. Lets realize that's a model for Iraq. If Iraq is going to survive, the Kurds, the Shi'ites, the Sunni, have to learn to share. If the Middle East is going to resolve Palestinians and Jews, are going to have to have affirmative action in terms of water resources. If Nigeria or Liberia or anywhere in the world is going to hold together, there's going to have to be a principle of freedom and fairness, and Maynard was the voice of god. Like the prophet Moses, said to us, you cannot go back. We might have to part the Red Sea, but we are going on. And Maynard, we still going with you.
LEO F. MULLINS, CHMN. & CEO. DELTA AIRLINES: Andy Young is on Delta Board of Directors, he is tough to follow.
Mrs. Jackson, Jackson family, special guests and members of the Atlanta community, I join my fellow speakers today in noting my respect, admiration and appreciation for what Maynard Jackson accomplished in his life. My first conversation with Maynard occurred only six months after I arrived here five years ago. As the new CEO of Delta, I'd thrown myself into the challenges of the new job. And, I had started sounding off prematurely in retrospect on what ought to happen at the airport when the phone call came.
Leo, he said, this is Maynard Jackson. I'm a little late, but I want to welcome you to Atlanta. Ten minutes of pleasant conversation followed, and then came the punch line. Leo, he said, I've always had a great interest in the airport. Only later did I understand his history with that place that I had arrived in "Jackson Country."
MULLINS: He went on. So I hope you won't view it as presumptuous, I want to offer a few thoughts on how to enhance the prospects for attaining that fifth runway the airport needs so desperately, he had my attention. Because if the truth be known, things weren't going so well at that time. Given the situation, it was time to listen. The advice was followed and as you all know, the fifth runway project is underway with all the promise that holds for Atlanta and the region.
MULLINS: From that day forward, Maynard and I had many conversations, and I learned a lot more about this unique man. I learned as you have heard and will hear so eloquently today about his commitment to justice and the task of improving the human condition. But there was always something else about him that intrigued me. A hugely pragmatic something else on which I'd like to focus my remaining excellence. I start with the observation that politic is a profession of words with persuasion at its heart. But our greatest political leaders know that words aren't enough. The better test is, did they get done what the words described, did he make it happen?
And what I realized over time was that Maynard did make things happen. And none tells the story better than the transformation he led at Atlanta's airport. Maynard set out to make that airport the world's greatest, and I honestly believe he succeeded.
MULLINS: But how many know the larger impact of his achievement?
I hesitated to share what sounded like commercial numbers at a point like this, but they so capture the reality and the importance to people throughout this community. 43,000 people are employed in direct airport activity. That as many as 500,000 more throughout the state of Georgia and elsewhere owe their jobs to what goes on at the airport or that the total economic impact on the region totals almost $17 billion annually or $46 million a day and it's growing every year. (APPLAUSE)
MULLINS: Maynard Jackson was the driving force behind this, turning the idea of Atlanta as a global aviation center into a reality. Importantly, his vision for what could be accomplished is part of the part of the airports expansion, extended beyond simple issues of aviation, into efforts at the inclusion with the path was as we all know extremely difficult. During his mayoral terms, Maynard championed minority hiring of which there was precious little at the time. Using the clout of government contracts, he helped develop minority involvement that never before existed and might not exist today had he not been so forceful.
MULLINS: Maynard Jackson championed above all the fundamentally American idea that when you expand economic opportunity to more people, the circle of prosperity expands with it. His tireless efforts helped us all recognize the justice of his policies of inclusion, for making the circle more inclusive improved people's lives, made this community stronger, and helped create a better America. As some of you know, mine is a family of educators and I saw in Maynard the characteristics of a teacher. And as Henry Adams once said, quote, "A teacher affects eternity. He can never tell where his influence stops."
Mr. Mayor, I to bid you fare well echoing that thought that your influence never stops and you have indeed affected eternity. Thank you very much
CORETTA SCOTT KING, WIFE OF MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.: The last time I saw Maynard Jackson was a couple of weeks ago at the funeral of our dear friend John Cox (ph). We said good-bye to a beloved brother on that emotional day. And we gather in remembrance of another beloved brother, Maynard Holbrooke Jackson. A great leader who left an indelible mark in the heart of the new south, as well as in all of our hearts. History will show that Maynard Jackson was one of the greatest American Mayors ever.
KING: It will be said again and again today that his pioneering leadership was a potent force that helped to turn Dixie into the Sun Belt, and he played this role with both (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and grace. Maynard had the fire in the belly that was needed for victory in politics. He was a winner, but more than that, he was a winner with a purpose. He had the heart and soul of a true people's leader. Maynard Jason had a passion for excellence in all endeavors and it was something he brought to his friendships, as well as his leadership. I will always remember his wonderful sense of humor, his genuine compassion, and consideration and the and the open hearted spirit he brought to his friendships.
I was blessed to work with Maynard when he was mayor during the early days of the King's Centers development. Maynard told me that the main reason he got into politics was to help fulfill the dream of Martin Luther King, Jr. And he provided us with invaluable support, as chairman of the Atlanta Committee to build the King Center. And as a member of the boards of trustees, I always felt better when I saw Maynard at meetings because I knew his involvement meant that the task at hand was going to be done right.
KING: He understood that the King Center was a -- he understood that the King Center was a great asset to Atlanta's development as well as a living memorial to Martin Luther King, Jr. Maynard was a prodigy, a political genius and leader of exceptional integrity, remarkable ability and extraordinary vision. He could have led a life of quiet prosperity in comfort. But he heard a different drummer that called him to a life of public service. To the least of these, like Martin Luther King, Jr., Maynard Jackson was an incorruptible champion of the poor and oppressed.
KING: The disadvantaged and the downtrodden, politics was his ministry, and humanity was his cause. He fought for freedom, economic opportunity, and justice for all with fierce determination and a heart full of love. He leaves behind a matchless legacy of public service for good and a towering example of leadership for great causes.
To his beloved wife, Valerie, his four daughters, and his son, and to all of the family we in the entire King family and the Jackson extend our loves and prayers to you as we share in the sadness of your loss. Yet, we also join you in joyful celebration of his wonderful life, lived to the fullest with overflowing love for his family, his people, and all humanity. He lives on in our hearts and we pledge to carry forward his unfinished work. Thank you.
WHITFIELD: We're nearing the end of the special coverage to the tribute of former Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson. Former President Clinton is expected to take the stand shortly and eulogize Maynard Jackson after Vernon Jordan (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Bill Clinton, who is now taking the stand at the Civic Center in Atlanta. Civil rights, shapers, religious political and business leaders all the like crowding the facilities to pay tributed to the life and legacy of Maynard Jackson, a grandson of slaves, a son of a prominent Dallas pastor and a first black mayor of a major southern city.
It was Congressman Joe Lewis, who said, most fittingly, quote, "Look around at the diversity and see the Atlanta that he created. A larger than life presence and legacy, that of Maynard Jackson. We'll continue the coverage of this special tribute today on this Saturday here in Atlanta. We're going to take a break right now. An of that "People in the News," and a look at the top stories.
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