Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson might have taken on political heavyweights, but when he jumped into the ring for a 1975 charity “fight” with Muhammad Ali, he was in a very different world.
The photo above, posted to the AJC Photo Vault’s Tumblr page, shows a heavyweight champ down on the mat and a joyous Mayor Jackson standing over him in the greatest Atlanta Falcons shirt I have ever seen. Seriously, find me this shirt, fellow readers.
The event was hosted by the Black Muslims in an attempt to promote businesses owned by blacks in Atlanta, according to the NBC Universal photo archive. At a press conference before the fight, Jackson said black business owners weren’t just getting dealt a bad hand – they were not even made aware of contracting opportunities, keeping them from bidding on projects in the first place.
(More #TBT: The Downtown Connector, 1985)
Elected in 1973, Jackson was the first African-American mayor of a Southern city, according to the New Georgia Encyclopedia. He served two terms as mayor from 1974 to 1982, and then returned to the office from 1990 to 1994. Between those two stints as mayor, Jackson worked with a committee to help bring the 1996 Summer Olympics to Atlanta, the report added.
For non-Atlantans, Jackson is a familiar name for air travelers, as Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport bears his last name.
Jackson died in 2003; he was buried at Oakland Cemetery.
Photo: Tumblr/AJC Photo VaultFollow @Sean_Breslin