Sam Massell

Photo credit: Clair Popkin, 2017

Born August 26, 1927

Sam Massell is a life-long resident of Atlanta, Georgia. Graduating from Georgia State University with degrees in science, salesmanship and real estate. Before entering politics, Massell was vice president of the largest commercial real estate brokerage firm in Atlanta. From 1970-1974 Massell was elected the 53rd mayor of Atlanta and the first Jewish mayor ever to lead the city. During his term, he created Atlanta’s Urban Design Commission, appointed the first woman to the City Council, named the first blacks to lead city departments, allowed Muhammad Ali to fight in Atlanta when fifty other cities would not, and developed the Omni, Atlanta’s first enclosed arena. Many in Atlanta attribute Sam Massell’s leadership and steadiness during a very difficult time in the cities history as laying the groundwork to a new more inclusive era for Atlanta’s politics and for its successful growth as a destination for conventions, tourism, and the Olympics. Following elected office, Massel enjoyed a successful career in the tourism industry and in the nonprofit sector leading the Buckhead Coalition.


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