Play It Again, Sam: The Notable Life of Sam Massell, Atlanta's First Minority Mayor
“Play It Again, Sam, the Notable Life of Sam Massell, Atlanta’s First Minority Mayor” tells the life of Brother Sam Massell, Mu (University of Georgia) 1948.
Brother Massell was an overachiever from birth as a downtown Piedmont baby through Druid Hills childhood, college life, World War II service and four careers. The author recites Massell’s mischief as a self-described “dead-end kid”; accompanies him in young adulthood when he struggles between pride and prejudice for being Jewish, and shares today’s philosophical differences between conservative Republican colleagues and his liberal civic service history as a Democrat.
This work reports on his personal and political life, identifying warts as well as winnings. Still working full-time at age 90, in the nonprofit arena, he reflects with relief and reward on the legacy of his mayorship, that of peacefully steering Atlanta through the transformation from an all-white power structure to a predominantly black city government.
Separate chapters provide insight to his work ethic describing successes with 20 years in commercial real estate; 22 years in elected offices; 13 years in the tourism industry; and now his 30th year of association management. After being president of Atlanta’s city council for eight years he was elected mayor of this city, during which time he developed MARTA (the mass transit system), the Omni Coliseum and the Five Points Central City Woodruff Park, all with no call on ad valorem taxes. He also pioneered minority opportunities appointing the first woman to the City Council and the first black department heads in over 125 years.
Brother Massell explains that the present chapter itemizing some of his role as founding president of the Buckhead Coalition is ongoing, and points to the community’s explosive skyline built during his stewardship. The branding of Buckhead nationally as “The Address of Choice” has obviously not been by accident, and continues as his mission. Along this path, he has been inducted into the halls of fame in the fields of business, government, civil rights and hospitality.
Brother Massell and author McNair will be autographing October 12 at Buckhead’s Barnes & Noble, November 9 at Marcus Community Center and November 28 at Atlanta History Center.