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Shirley Franklin

February 15, 2013

Shirley Franklin made history in 2002 by becoming the first woman elected mayor in the city of Atlanta and the first black woman to lead a major Southern city in history.  The 58th mayor of Atlanta finished her tenure in 2010, when current mayor, Mohammed Kasim Reed, succeeded her.

Franklin is originally from Philadelphia and received her M.A. in sociology from the University of Pennsylvania. She is also an honorary member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

Franklin’s tenure in politics began with her run for mayor in 2001, which resulted in a successful win after garnering fifty percent of the city’s vote. In 2005, Franklin won re-election with more than ninety percent of the vote.  During her tenure as mayor, Franklin advocated on behalf of the continued preservation of African-American history. In 2006, she fought to send the papers of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to Morehouse College, his alma mater, as opposed to being sold at auction.

In 2005, Franklin was the recipient of the Profile in Courage Award, issued by the John F. Kennedy foundation. In that same year, Time Magazine named her one of five best big-city American mayors and she was included in the U.S. News & World Report “Best Leaders of 2005” issue.

–Victoria Ford, CAS ’15

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