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Bunnie Jackson-Ransom, Atlanta entrepreneur and civic activist, has died

Remembering a Southern legend


Bunnie Jackson-Ransom

It was a few weeks after receiving my bachelor’s degree from Georgia State University in 2017. There was an Atlanta Association of Black Journalists meeting at the historic Pascal’s Restaurant on Northside Drive. The venue became a hotbed for politicians and civil rights leaders in the 1960s and ’70s, so much so there’s a room in the restaurant plastered with photos of Maynard Jackson, Atlanta’s first Black mayor. While I waited in line to eat, I made a friend in front of me. We had small talk and exchanged business cards. She told me she had a history of doing public relations work in the metro Atlanta area, and always wanted to connect with the new professionals around the city.

As the meal and program began, the speakers gave a special shout-out to Bunnie Jackson-Ransom, Atlanta’s first Black first lady. Jackson-Ransom received great applause when I realized I didn’t connect with only a publicist outside, but Maynard Jackson’s former wife. Jackson-Ransom never boasted about her position in Atlanta royalty, she let others do that. When she introduced herself, she wasn’t one of the South’s most prolific businesswomen of her time, she was simply a “long-time publicist who wanted to keep in touch with as many reporters in the city” as she could.

On Feb. 2, Jackson-Ransom died surrounded by her family in southwest Atlanta. She was 82.

Burnella Jackson-Ransom founded First Class, Inc. public relations firm in 1975 and served as the president and CEO until she retired in 2020. Her clients included The King Center, Burger King and the Trumpet Awards. She’s also managed music acts like CAMEO and the S.O.S. Band. She also married Ray Ransom, the bass guitar player for BRICK, but the couple later divorced.


The benevolent businesswoman also wrote two books, Getting the Word Out: How to Market Your Ministry and Memoirs of a Life Well Lived: The first “First Lady” from S.W.A.T.S. 

Jackson-Ransom was the mother of three daughters, Elizabeth Jackson Hodges, Brooke Jackson Edmond and Rae Yvonne Ransom Coleman; and one son, Maynard H. Jackson III. She also had 10 grandchildren.

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