Longtime community activist and advisor Mattie Jackson, 98, died at home on Saturday, Aug. 1.
A resident of Summerhill, Jackson’s nearly 60 years of activism included advising President Lyndon B. Johnson’s administration to create legislation to fight poverty, But she’s best known locally for years of advocacy in protecting the Summerhill and Peoplestown neighborhoods.
Jackson was also appointed to the Olympic Games Committee in 1991, since the Olympic Stadium was going to be built in her community.
One of her most notable battles was against former mayor Kasim Reed when he wanted to demolish her home and a number of others to build a retention pond to alleviate flooding. She won.
Following her death, members of the Atlanta City Council issued statements and remembrances of Jackson.
“The City of Atlanta will always be defined by the strength of its citizens. Mrs. Mattie Jackson was a living example of the type of strength that defines communities and molds municipalities. She used her influence to successfully advocate for the poor and ensure that the city’s most vulnerable populations were represented during some of the conversations that made Atlanta a regional leader. Today, I learned that Mrs. Jackson has transitioned and is physically no longer with us. It is certain that her memory will live on and will have an influence on future generations. Her legacy as an advocate will continue to impact us all. To the family of Mrs. Mattie Jackson, may you find comfort and peace during this difficult time.” – Council President Felicia A. Moore
“I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of the great Mrs. Mattie Jackson. Mrs. Jackson was not only a pillar of the Peoplestown and Summerhill communities, but she was a giant in the pantheon of great women leaders in the history of the city of Atlanta. An advisor to political and religious leaders, her advocacy improved Atlanta for the better. Her sage advice often tempered many public debates on how to improve the lives of the people in our community. I am thankful for the opportunities that I had to work with her. My condolences to the members of the Jackson family as we all mourn the passing of this great lady.” – Post 1 At-Large Council member Michael Julian Bond
“I am saddened to learn of the loss of Mrs. Mattie Jackson. She was one of our most distinguished residents in District 1 and a driving force in her community. She was an inspiration to those who knew her, and she will be dearly missed.” – District 1 Council member Carla Smith
“Mattie Jackson was a lifelong resident of Southeast Atlanta and a dedicated neighborhood activist not only for her community but for all of the NPU-V. She was a strong community leader who was outspoken and stood up for what she felt was right. Mrs. Jackson is an example of what a true community fighter is all about. She lived a long, rich life and left a legacy for many of us to follow.” – District 4 Council member Cleta Winslow
“Mattie Jackson was a fierce advocate for the Peoplestown and Summerhill communities and an extraordinary leader. She worked tirelessly to ensure that her community was not left behind. Mrs. Jackson is a former delegate who met with President Lyndon B. Johnson’s cabinet about policies to protect the poor. Jackson helped shape President Johnson’s signature legislation that waged war on poverty in the U.S. She worked the polls every election and fought for a community benefits agreement that would bring positive change to her neighborhood. The city of Atlanta, and specifically her community and neighborhood, will carry on her work and will remember her as a strong woman who was respected by all as a true community leader. My deep prayers and condolences to her family and all that knew her. She will be missed.” – District 10 Council member Andrea Boone