Shirley Franklin

Former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin joins the panel.

Credit: @ATLShirley

The panel

Shirley Franklin, 58th mayor of Atlanta


The breakdown

Former Mayor Shirley Franklin grew up in a bipartisan household, watching debates between "Lincoln Republicans" and Democrats over the dinner table. Her greatest desire was to be a prima ballerina, and she says she still dances in her head. Her parents pushed her to attend Howard University, not only because of its HBCU status, but because they wanted her to absorb the experience of her family in the area.

Franklin and her mother attended the 1963 March on Washington during her second year at Howard. She says the event was both "a celebration and a call to action". She admired civil rights leaders like John Lewis and Andrew Young, who she was thrilled to get to know after she moved to the South.

Franklin was elected on a slim margin with no prior experience in political office, to the surprise of the electorate. She faced a major deficit in the city's budget with a policy of honesty. After layoffs and tax hikes, she wanted to make her decisions facing the public. Her major effort to preserve city control of the sewer system kept it out of federal oversight. Through her efforts to acquire the 1996 Olympics and advocate for the arts, she established her mayoral legacy.


Friday on Political Rewind: Former columnist Jim Galloway joins the panel.