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Behind the two names of Atlanta’s airport: Hartsfield and Jackson

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You may have heard that Atlanta airport officials had launched a campaign to urge everyone to use the full dual-name of the world’s busiest airport: Hartsfield-Jackson, rather than “Hartsfield,” as it is often called.

The campaign came after the Atlanta City Council passed a resolution two years ago demanding to know why some people are still omitting the “Jackson” part of the name.

Those looking to learn a bit about the two men behind those names can find two plaques just beyond the main security checkpoint in the domestic terminal, on the right wall before the escalators that go down to the people-mover train to the concourses.

There have been two plaque at that site since 2014, when the Maynard H. Jackson bronze relief plaque was placed there.

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Maynard H. Jackson III, left, and Candace Byrd, chief of staff for Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed touch the newly unveiled bronze relief plaque of Jackson’s father, Maynard H. Jackson Jr. Local artist Fred Ajanogha unveiled the plaque of the former Atlanta Mayor during a ceremony in 2014. The plaque is displayed at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, next to one of Atlanta’s longest serving mayor William B. Hartsfield. BRANT SANDERLIN / BSANDERLIN@AJC.COM

It’s next to a long-standing William B. Hartsfield plaque.

The Hartsfield plaque reads: “He loved his city, and served its people with rare foresight and fidelity. As an expression for his gratitude for his leadership and achievements, this airport shall be known as the William B. Hartsfield International Airport. The airport was named after Hartsfield in 1971.

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The current-day domestic terminal originally opened as the new Atlanta airport terminal in 1980, when Jackson was mayor.

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Former Mayor Massell, Council President Marvin Arrington and Mayor Jackson unveil plaque at dedication of the new Atlanta Airport on Sept. 19,1980. Hartsfield Int’l Airport-Midfield Terminal

In 2003, after Jackson’s death, a racially-tinged debate over whether to rename the airport Hartsfield-Jackson brought out a contingent that wanted to keep the Hartsfield name and another that wanted it named for Jackson. Then-Mayor Shirley Franklin pushed for a compromise using both men’s names.

The Jackson plaque reads: “As Atlanta’s first African-American mayor, he worked to ensure equal opportunity for all to participate in the city’s growth and prosperity. That he was instrumental in the expansion of the airport and its transformation into the world’s busiest, in acknowledgment of his love of and commitment to our city, this airport shall be known as Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.”

There’s also a Maynard Jackson portrait at the Atlanta airport’s international terminal, which is named after Jackson.

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An unveiling celebration of the portrait of Maynard H. Jackson Jr. at the international terminal, which opened in 2012.

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MORE:

Atlanta’s airport wants you to know: it’s named for two people!

Call it Hartsfield-Jackson, says Atlanta city council resolution

Atlanta airport posters promote both “Hartsfield” and “Jackson”

Call it Hartsfield-hyphenated-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, or else


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