“Surely, with my personal transformation from country girl to who I am today is an amazing journey. God truly blessed me and I am thankful everyday for this grace and these favors. 

I trust some young women can benefit from my experiences.” -Bunnie Jackson-Ransom 

If you ever have an opportunity to meet Bunnie Jackson-Ransom, you will recognize the light she carries with her into every room she enters. 

She passionately explains that light in her newly released book “Memoirs of a Life Well Lived: The First “First Lady” of the S.W.A.T.S.”. Jackson-Ransom was encouraged and loved by her parents Elizabeth Day Haynes and Burnalla James Hayes and taught to always stand in her truth and light. 

Jackson-Ransom born Brunella Jane Hayes, named after her father, referred to herself as “First Lady” reluctantly at first, however she has come to embrace this moniker on her own terms. Being the first lady of her children, her husband, and her community. 

In her book, she states that we are all first ladies to somebody. She was given the title because she was married to a very important man– the former two-time Mayor of Atlanta Maynard Jackson– and in her position, Jackson-Ransom was to relish in the prestige that comes with that office. And she did through the words in her book. Even after the marriage ended — the friendship remained. 

Growing up in a small town, Louisburg, North Carolina, surrounded by the love of her family, Jackson-Ransom tells us about her childhood home that she admired so much. Mainly, because it was purchased by her mother, and renovated by her father to have the only fully working bathroom in the neighborhood. 

“I come from a family of entrepreneurs,” Jackson-Ransom said. “My father purchased the land on the left and the right of our home. On the left side, he built a country store and planted cotton on one acre of the land behind the store. On the right side, he built a two-room house and rented it out. Behind the house, he planted tobacco on one acre.”

With the upbringing of a small town country girl, Bunnie Jackson still knew she could accomplish anything she set out to do. Graduating first in her class in high school and attending North Carolina College in Durham was just the start for her. 

Marrying Jackson (the first African-American Mayor of the City of Atlanta) was only just another stop on her road to living a well-lived life.

In the introduction of her book, Jackson-Ransom speaks about a college romance leading to a marriage, then divorce. Obtaining her Master’s Degree with Elizabeth, her first-born daughter in tow. Moving to Atlanta and performing her “first lady” role. 

Then working through divorce number two, after being the first lady of Atlanta, creating the Neighborhood Planning Unit (NPU) and working relentlessly at Economic Opportunity Atlanta (EOA) having Brooke and Maynard III, her first son. Opening First Class. Inc. a public relations agency in 1975. Embarking upon one more marriage– having youngest daughter Rae Yvonne at age forty and then another divorce. 

Not stopping, Jackson-Ransom went on to invite us into her life in music management from 1976 to the mid-1980s. She illuminates this time as being “good to her and the most financially lucrative.” Being again the first Black woman to own and operate a full-service public relations agency in Atlanta. 

As well as being the “first” Black woman to head an artist management company with two recording acts — The S.O.S. Band and CAMEO to traveling the world on an assignment of a lifetime working with Road Scholars. 

“This is a love story, an unconditional love story for people close and not so close to Bunnie, those that her contagious laughter, business acumen, fast-witted sense of humor and straight to the point no nonsense words deliver,” Sophie Gibson said. “Bunnie has described in detail a life worthy of a queen despite trials and some very harsh realities, with love found and lost. This is a soul-searching and honest book. Bunnie teaches us ladies to stand tall, to own our brilliance and speak the truth always from the heat.”

In the forty-two chapters, Jackson-Ransom unapologetically tells her truth, in her own words, in her own time. Jackson-Ransom gives out flowers to all of those that have been a part of her eighty years of life. Celebrating her lessons and giving us the manual to living a life as a “First Lady.”

Love God, then yourself, then the man. 

Make sure you are educated. 

Do not take the role too seriously–it will pass. 

Learn how to smile when you want to scream. 

Keep some girlfriends in your corner. 

Strive hard to find your purpose in life. 

Remember you are God’s child. 

Learn the “Serenity Prayer” 

If you can’t say something nice about someone,just shut your mouth (Bunnie’s forever life lesson from her mother Elizabeth Day Hayes affectionately known as “Mama Hayes”)

Bunnie Jackson-Ransom’s “Memoirs of a Life Well Lived-The First “First Lady” from the S.W.A.T.S.” can be found locally at Medu Bookstore and online at Amazon.com. 

Bunnie Jackson is pictured with her Book 'Memoirs of a Life Well Lived' (Photo Credit: Ann Hill-Bond)