Sam Massell was born on August 26, 1927, and 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 to 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 Black people 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 city's history as laying the groundwork for 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.