Jackson, however, faced his share of political and administrative challenges. While in office, he had to contend with strikes from sanitation workers and municipal employees that threatened to paralyze the city in 1977. And no one can forget the fear that gripped the city in 1979 when 29 young black males were killed as part of the heinous Atlanta child murders.
In his third term, the crowning achievement was bringing the Olympic gold to Atlanta. In 1990, he partnered with his mayoral successor and predecessor Andrew Young, chairman of the Atlanta Organizing Committee, the group that structured the city’s bid, to lead a delegation to Tokyo to sell the International Olympic Committee on Atlanta as the locale for the 1996 Summer Games. His masterful presentation enabled Atlanta to beat Athens, Greece — the birthplace of the Olympics — as host for the centennial event.
As with other municipal projects, the seasoned mayor wanted to make sure that minority business would receive its fair slice of the Olympic contract pie. He remembered the treatment black firms received during the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, which amounted to little more than table scraps when it came to contracts, ranging from construction to concessions.
Jackson, however, did not renege on his pledge. From 1992 to March 1994, the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games awarded $23.9 million in contracts to architects and engineers. Of that amount, $10.7 million went to minority suppliers, and more than 60% of the minority firms were black. Also, a considerable number of BE 100S companies managed to reap Olympian dividends. For instance, the construction firms of H.J. Russell and C.D. Moody were part of the team that won the $209 million Olympic Stadium project. And Terry Manufacturing, the Roanoke, Alabama, apparel manufacturer, became the first black-owned company to obtain a licensing agreement to produce clothing with the Olympic logo.
In 1992, Jackson underwent a six-way heart bypass. The following year, he declined to run for re-election, citing personal and health reasons.
During the course of his political career, Jackson had a hand in developing more BE 100S companies than any other mayor. After a stint as a bond attorney for Chicago-based law firm Chapman & Cutler he launched his own enterprise in 1987: Jackson Securities L.L.C. (No. 7 on the BE INVESTMENT BANKS list with $1.466 billion in senior/co-senior managed issues). Today, some observers wondered whether the firm will enjoy the same level of success without Jackson’s strategic guidance and political muscle.
CEO McDaniel says Jackson was “very involved” in the firm’s day-to-day activities. As chairman, he spent much of his time calling on current and potential institutional clients and helping set corporate policy. “He was a master salesman,” McDaniel says of Jackson, who sold encyclopedias door-to-door before he went to North Carolina Central University’s law school. “He had no problem picking up the phone, cold calling, or going to meet whoever he needed to.”
For instance, the former mayor played a critical role in helping the firm land a $100 million municipal bond contract with