Solidification and Stratification, 1982–1990

Alton Hornsby

in Black Power in Dixie

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print May 2009 | ISBN: 9780813032825
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813038537 | DOI:
Solidification and Stratification, 1982–1990

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This chapter discusses the emergence of solidification and social stratification in Atlanta. When Maynard H. Jackson Jr. left the Atlanta mayoral seat after serving for two years as the south's first African American chief executive of a major city, he left a record of material and emotional achievements that made black Atlantans and indeed black Americans proud. He achieved at least a detente from his white constituents wherein in a number of cases he won their praise. However, despite his successes, several major problems remained. The city infrastructures still needed repairing; neighbourhood issues still cried for comprehensive solutions; economically marginalized populations, particularly blacks still wallowing in poverty and despair, needed help; and the city was still divided geographically and socially by race. After the elections of 1982, Jackson gave way to Andrew Young, a black politician who served Atlanta for two terms. While in office, Young tried to pursue a program for African American businesses, but in the end the program mostly benefited the few wherein the rich became richer. While he claimed he wanted to pursue housing programs for the marginalized blacks, Young seemed to be preoccupied with the development of upscale housing in downtown areas which promoted gentrification. While he pursued aggressive law enforcement, he had to deal with complaints by black residents of police brutality. When he softened the hands of the law, he was greeted by discord from the whites. When Young left office, there had been failures, both real and perceived, but he nonetheless left the office with high marks for his leadership in terms of economic growth, as an international ambassador for the city, and as a charismatic broker for Atlanta's delicate balance in race relations. In the 1988 poll this question was asked: Did Atlanta move forward under the leadership of Mayor Young? In answer 43 percent of white Atlantans said yes and 43 percent of black Atlantans said yes.

Keywords: black Atlantans; Andrew Young; African American business; race relations; economic growths; international ambassador

Chapter.  11915 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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