Valerie Jackson

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Valerie Richardson Jackson
First Lady of Atlanta, Georgia
In office
Preceded by Bunny Burke Jackson
(previous wife)
Succeeded by Carolyn Young
In office
Preceded by Carolyn Young
Succeeded by Sharon Campbell
Personal details
Born (1949-04-03) April 3, 1949 (age 68)
Richmond, Virginia
Spouse(s) Maynard Jackson
Children Valerie Amanda Jackson
Alexandra Jackson
(and three stepchildren)
Occupation Advertising executive

Valerie Jackson (born Valerie Richardson on April 3, 1949 in Richmond, Virginia) is an American radio host, philanthropist, and former advertising executive. She is the widow of former Atlanta, Georgia mayor Maynard Jackson.

Early life[edit]

She was born to Charles and Cora Ruth Richardson, and grew up in Richmond.[1] In 1963 she was one of the first black students admitted into her high school, from which she graduated in 1967. She went on to major in business management at Virginia Commonwealth University (BBA 1971),[1] and continued her studies at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania (MBA 1973).[1] From there she worked in executive capacities for Grey Advertising and Trans World Airlines.[2]

First Lady[edit]

Richardson first met Maynard Jackson, at that time the first black mayor of Atlanta, in 1976 at a party hosted by singer Roberta Flack.[1] They were married in 1977, and she became stepmother to his three children from his previous marriage, later giving birth to two girls of their own, Valerie Amanda and Alexandra.[3] During her husband's tenure as mayor, she served as advisor to the city's economic development program, bringing to Atlanta such national and international events as the 1988 Democratic National Convention and the 1996 Summer Olympics.[1]


After her husband left the mayoral office for the final time in 1994, both of them continued their philanthropic work in the community, specifically in organizations helping the underprivileged. Both of them led the Maynard Jackson Youth Foundation,[1] and Mrs. Jackson serving on the board for Alliance for a New Humanity.[2] After her husband's death in 2003, Mrs. Jackson started hosting a radio show on WABE, the National Public Radio station in Atlanta, called Between the Lines.[1] On the show, she interviews notable intellectuals in the world community who help the world through a variety of outlets, such as politics, literature and the media. Among the subjects Jackson has interviewed include Jimmy Carter, Hillary Clinton, Deepak Chopra, Sidney Poitier and Iyanla Vanzant.[1]