Ivan Allen Jr., the former Atlanta mayor who was credited with keeping the peace during the turbulent civil rights movement of the 1960s, died July 2. Cause of death was not released. He was 92.
Allen’s two terms as mayor were busy ones. A Democrat, Allen welcomed integration when other southern leaders decried it, earning Atlanta the nickname, “the city too busy to hate.” In 1963, at the request of President Kennedy, Allen testified before Congress in support of the Civil Rights Act. He was the only elected Southern official to do so.
Allen helped bring professional sports to Atlanta by leading the efforts to build Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium. He presided over the creation of MARTA, the city’s transit system. And when a plane crashed in 1962, killing more than 100 Atlanta leaders, Allen founded the Memorial Arts Center in their memory.