Jesse Hill, Jr., (May 30, 1926 – December 17, 2012) was a civil rights leader, business executive, and actuary.
Hill was the CEO of the Atlanta Life Insurance Company. He was also confidant of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. He is a Black pioneer/activist that pushed several civil rights initiatives.
Jesse Hill, Jr. held many positions including the first Black President of the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, the first Black Member of the Georgia Board of Regents, and the first Black Member of the Board of Directors for Rich’s Department Store.
His involvement with voting included chairing the All-Citizens Registration Committee and helped to desegregate the Atlanta Public School system. He also one one of the leading figures to desegregate the University System of Georgia.
Hill created the black newspaper The Atlanta Inquirer that covered the racial tensions, sit-ins, and protests.
Governor Jimmy Carter selected Hill to chair the State Board of Regents in 1973. After President Carter was elected, he chose Hill to chair the Minority Business Resource Center, a group created by Congress.
A 1949 graduate of the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, Hill became, in 1977, the first Black man to preside over the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce.
During Hill’s Presidency, the Atlanta Life Insurance Company became the largest black-owned life insurance company in the nation.
In 2008 he was inducted into the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame.
He passed away on December 17, 2012. He was 86 years old.