Atlanta’s First, Black “First Lady” Bunnie Jackson-Ransom Passes Away At 82

Atlanta Icon Burnella Hayes Jackson-Ransom, affectionately known as Bunnie, passed away

Photo: YouTube

ATLANTA – (February 3, 2023). – Atlanta Icon Burnella Hayes Jackson-Ransom, affectionately known as Bunnie, passed away surrounded by her family in Southwest Atlanta on February 2, 2023. She was a loving mother, a dear friend, and a true trailblazer. Bunnie Jackson-Ransom was thrust into public life as the first wife (1965-1976) of Atlanta’s first Black Mayor, Maynard H. Jackson Jr.

After their divorce, she went on to become one of Atlanta’s most influential businesswomen and community leaders. Jackson-Ransom enjoyed a very successful career as a public relations & marketing professional, music executive, educator, and author. She was a mentor and inspiration to young entrepreneurs and budding public relations professionals across the south and nation.

Final arrangements have been entrusted to Murray Brothers Funeral Home, Cascade Chapel. The funeral service will be held at 10:00 am on Monday, February 13, 2023, at Ebenezer Baptist Church located at 101 Jackson Street NE Atlanta, GA 30312.

Bunnie Jackson-Ransom founded First Class, Inc., a public relations and marketing firm, in 1975 and served as the president and CEO until she retired in 2020. As the driving force behind First Class for more than 45 years, she started one of Atlanta’s first Black women-owned agencies, paving the way for many Black women in the South.

She worked on accounts ranging from sausages to shoes and from patients to politicians. Her clients, too numerous to list, included The National Conference of Black Mayors, Waste Management, Inc., Burger King Corporation, the Trumpet Awards, the King Center, Metropolitan Atlanta Transit Consultants (MATC), American Traffic Solutions, Jackmont Hospitality, Inc., Greater Piney Grove Baptist Church, and The Edmond Firm. Jackson-Ransom developed an unblemished reputation in the field of public relations, media relations, and community engagement.

In addition, Jackson-Ransom served as President of Atlanta Artists Management, where she was responsible for managing Atlanta Artist Productions and Atlanta Artists Records, in addition to managing the recording career of acts such as CAMEO, Larry Blackmon, and The S.O.S. Band. She managed multi-million-dollar record sales, toured the world with performances and promotions, negotiated production deals for her artists, and carried these recording artists to gold and platinum record status.

In 1978 Jackson-Ransom married Ray Ransom, who played bass guitar with the group BRICK, but they later divorced.

Jackson-Ransom was a true lover of the Arts and left an indelible impression on the local arts community. As first lady, she was involved in several programs, volunteering in the area of the arts. She was responsible for the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater’s return to Atlanta. She also brought the first major African American art exhibition to the High Museum by convincing the museum director to let her hang an exhibition by Ernie Barnes in the galleria of Symphony Hall. Because of the success of this exhibition, the High Museum invited other Black artists – including Bennie Andrews and Romare Bearden – to exhibit.

She served on the board of directors of the Atlanta Symphony and was instrumental in bringing Gladys Knight and the Pips to perform with the Symphony.

Jackson-Ransom penned two books. The first book–a unique combination of her public relations and marketing knowledge, vigorous professional skill, and 36 years of experience– was titled Getting the Word Out: How to Market Your Ministry. The second book was titled Memoirs of a Life Well Lived: The first “First Lady” from S.W.A.T.S.

Jackson-Ransom received numerous awards and honors, including being listed in Who’s Who in American Women, Who’s Who in Georgia, and Who’s Who in Black America; she was also named Who’s Who in Atlanta by the Atlanta Business Chronicle. She was presented with the Bronze Jubilee Public Award, “America’s Top 100 Black Business and Professional Women” by Dollars and Sense Magazine, and the Black Journalist Awards in Community Relations and Event Planning for 1992 calendar year and Public Relations for the 1993 calendar year.

She was among the list of “Women of Influence” by the Atlanta Business League and received the Millennium Pacesetter Award from this organization. She was recognized by the West Hunter Street Baptist Church; the Atlanta Public Schools; the U. S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Prisons; University John-Hope Homes; The Concerned Black Clergy of Atlanta, and received the Ground Crew Award in community service from Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

She received the Woman of the Year award from the National Association of Professional Women 2012-2013. Her most recent recognition was being named one of Atlanta Magazines Atlanta 500 Professionals in the ‘Legends category’ for 2023.

Ms. Jackson-Ransom was a member of the National Council of Negro Women; the Atlanta Association of Black Journalists; the Atlanta Branch of the NAACP; the Azalea Chapter of The Links, Inc.; and the Metropolitan Atlanta Coalition of 100 Black Women. She was a former president of the Atlanta Chapter of Jack & Jill; a former member of the Board of Directors of the Partnership Against Domestic Violence; a former member of the Board of Directors of the Atlanta Business League; and a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., where she served as past local chapter president and past chairman of the National Projects Committee. She was a past president of the Metropolitan Atlanta Coalition of 100 Black Women and a past Chairperson of the Georgia Human Relations Commission. She also organized the Cascade Heights branch of the League of Women Voters.

Bunnie Jackson-Ransom was the proud mother of three daughters, Elizabeth Jackson Hodges, Brooke Jackson Edmond, and Rae Yvonne Ransom Coleman, and the mother of one son, Maynard H. Jackson III. She was a loving grandmother to ten grandchildren. She was a member of the Cascade United Methodist Church in Southwest Atlanta.

3 thoughts on “Atlanta’s First, Black “First Lady” Bunnie Jackson-Ransom Passes Away At 82

  1. I like what you guys are up also. Such smart work and reporting! Keep up the excellent works guys I¦ve incorporated you guys to my blogroll. I think it will improve the value of my web site 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *