Monte Richardson and Valerie Richardson Jackson at the memorial to Mayor Maynard Jackson in Oakland Cemetery.

During a recent private ceremony, the widow of former Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson unveiled a new permanent memorial at Oakland Cemetery. The 14.5-foot, 14-ton monument was dedicated on the 14th anniversary of Jackson’s death.

The obelisk is made of African-sourced honed black granite, and sits on a platform of grey Georgia granite. The sub-foundation beneath the granite base is solid concrete reinforced with rebar. Four hand-carved solid bronze discs on each facet of the crown represent four aspects of Jackson’s legacy: the City of Atlanta, the scales of justice, the Olympic rings, and the Atlanta airport.

Lush ivy surrounds the monument; in the Victorian burial tradition, ivy symbolizes strength, endurance, and determination. On one side of the monument, the first line of poet Ella Wheeler Wilcox’s “Will” is engraved.

“One of Maynard’s notable attributes was his strong will and determination,” said Valerie Richardson Jackson, Mayor Jackson’s widow. “The poem speaks of a determined soul, and it was only through Maynard’s determination in moving I-85 that a new airport terminal was built with minority as well as female participation.”

Mrs. Jackson personally designed the monument along with her brother, visual artist and photographer Monte Richardson. Brook Bolton, president and CEO of Roberts-Shields Memorial Company, produced and supervised the monument’s installation.

Mrs. Jackson said the monument was not only a tribute to the man whose honor, courage and vision created a new Atlanta, but also her personal tribute to their love and devotion to each other for over a quarter of a century.

“My ultimate goal was to build a fitting monument to this exceptional man, which will stand for centuries to come,” she said.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.

One reply on “Memorial to late Mayor Maynard Jackson unveiled at Oakland Cemetery”

  1. This memorial hits many right notes: professional accomplishments, symbolism, references to ancient cultures and funerary practices, symbolism, civic art, literature, and portraiture.

Comments are closed.