Atlanta Life Mourns the Passing of Mr. Jesse Hill, Jr.

pic courtesy of History Center

“Supporting the struggle for economic dignity, civil rights and general uplift of Black America and the struggle against racism and bigotry has been a way of life for Atlanta Life over the years. We feel a sense of responsibility to contribute resources, service and leadership to improve opportunities and the quality of life for all Americans especially in the areas of education, employment, housing, health and justice.”  

                                                   Jesse Hill, Jr. (1980)

It is with sadness and heavy hearts that we announce the death of Mr. Jesse Hill, Jr. – former President of the Atlanta Life Insurance Company.   Mr. Hill was an integral part of the Atlanta’s business community and one of the regions most celebrated civil rights leaders.

Mr. Hill worked with Atlanta Life Insurance Company from 1949-1990. During his first two decades with Atlanta Life, he became vice president and the chief actuary of the company.  In 1973 he was elected president and chief executive officer, becoming the company’s third president and the first not to be a family member of Alonzo Herndon, Atlanta Life’s founder.

Mr. Hill retired from Atlanta Life in 1991.

Mr. Hill was also involved in progressive activities to help the black community across the South. During the 1950s and 1960s, Mr. Hill raised money from employees at Atlanta Life and donated the money to Martin Luther King Jr.’s efforts to promote civil rights.  He also encouraged employees to donate their time in support of the civil rights cause.  Atlanta Life’s Montgomery office even employed Rosa Parks as a secretary during the Montgomery bus boycott, which she sparked.

Under Mr. Hill’s leadership Atlanta Life Insurance Company was given credit for increasing African American access to affordable home-mortgage financing in Georgia, Alabama, Texas, and Florida. Furthermore, he organized successful voter registration drives in Atlanta throughout the late 1960s and 1970s.  Mr. Hill’s organizational efforts helped register approximately 50,000 new African American voters in Atlanta. 


STATEMENT FROM CURRENT PRESIDENT OF ATLANTA LIFE (MR. WILLIAM TAGGART):

Mr. Hill personified thought-leadership, professionalism and dedication in all of his business and community endeavors.  The city, region and nation are better because of his tireless leadership.  He will be sorely missed but his legacy will live on…

pic courtesy of History Center

picture courtesy of the Atlanta History Center