IN THE high-stakes, male-dominated world of preparing a city for the Olympic Games, where multimillion-dollar deals are cut on a daily basis and calamity lurks around every corner, there is no room for the faint of heart. On the front lines of Atlanta's Centennial Olympics--already being dubbed "the greatest international sporting event in the history of the world"--are several African-American women, heading some of the most critical departments responsible for preparing the city for the more than 2 million visitors expected to descend on the Georgia capital this summer.
Among the top women in the "Olympic loop" are airport general manager Angela Gittens, development experts Clara Hayley Axam and Hattie Dorsey, public housing director Renee Glover, city Olympic coordinator Susan Pease Langford, Sheriff Jacquelvn Barrett and Police Chief Beverly Harvard.
These women say that through the leadership of Atlanta's past three mayors--Andrew Young, Maynard Jackson and Bill Campbell--the city has been able to look past race and sex and judge Black women on their ability. "We've come to a point, particularly in government, where one's ability weighs more than gender and race. That's a testament to certain males in the city," Glover says. "The fact that there are a number of African-American women who are in leadership positions points to the fact that there is an appreciation for what we can contribute to society."
Other Black women heavily involved in Atlanta's Olympic effort are: Anita DeFrantz, a member of the International Olympic Committee; Shirley C. Franklin, Olympics senior policy advisor and managing director for local government, community relations and equal opportunity programming; Doris C. Isaacs Stallworth, city managing director for local government; and Kay Y. Wallace, deputy chief operating officer for the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games. Top Black men include Dr. LeRoy T. Walker, president of the …