Today marks the 128th anniversary of the birth of one of Atlanta’s greatest – and longest-running – mayors.
During his six-term mayoral run, William B. Hartsfield made invaluable contributions to the city – from annexing suburban territory (tripling Atlanta’s size) to building its image as “the city too busy to hate” during the civil rights movement era. Seeing the turmoil of school desegregation attempts across the country, he chose a gradual approach. Atlanta’s schools were peacefully integrated in 1971.
Hartsfield’s biggest legacy, however, remains his establishment of Atlanta’s first airport – renamed in his honor a week following his death in 1961.