She is the first African-American woman to serve as mayor of a major Southern city and was named by TIME magazine as one of the countrys top five mayors. On May 16, Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin will receive the John F. Kennedy Profiles in Courage Award, which is presented annually to public servants who have made courageous decisions of conscience without regard for the personal or professional consequences.
On the eve of the presentation of this prestigious award, Franklin sits down with Georgia Public Broadcasting Senior Correspondent Susan Hoffman to talk about her life and work.
Over the course of the conversation, Franklin not only discusses her challenges as mayor of Atlanta, but also her personal life, from her mothers life lessons, to her fathers struggle with alcoholism, to balancing a career and family.
"Politics is something that you should have a personal passion about, Franklin tells Hoffman. And if you dont, youre better off sitting on the sidelines, going to vote when its time to vote, researching the issues and the candidates. My passion for politics is personal. It didnt come from my mother or my father. Its a compilation of all of my experiences that causes me to be interested."
Franklin also talks of her introduction to Atlanta politics as a volunteer for Andrew Youngs congressional campaign in the early 1970s, how she moved into public life, and how she has been influenced by both Young and the late Maynard Jackson. With her well-known sense of humor and openness, Franklin reviews her life, outlines her top priorities for Atlanta and looks to her own personal future.