ATLANTA (WAOK/AJC) -Funeral services for Jesse Hill, Jr., former head of Atlanta Life Insurance Co. have been announced. Hill died Monday at the age of 86.
A native of St. Louis, Hill was the first black president of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce and the first black member of the university system’s Board of Regents. He never held public office, but he counseled nearly everyone who served in high positions in Georgia, from Jimmy Carter to Mayors Maynard Jackson, Andrew Young, and Sam Massell — making Hill, at times, a sort-of one-man shadow government.
In a period of historic ferment over civil rights and the changing dynamics of Atlanta, Hill showed uncommon leadership. He helped finance and advise civil-rights leaders, including the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and tackled assignments as diverse as the launch of MARTA and the integration of the Atlanta public schools and the University of Georgia. He played an especially important role in forging understanding and alliances between local black and white leaders.
Hill’s funeral is scheduled for Friday, December 21 at 11 am at Big Bethel A.M.E. Church on Auburn Avenue at Jesse Hill Drive.