ATLANTA (AP/WAOK) —Hundreds said their goodbyes to Jesse Hill, a prominent Atlanta civil rights leader and businessman who died Monday at the age of 86. Hill’s funeral was held at 11 a.m. Friday at Big Bethel A.M.E. Church on the corner of Auburn Avenue and Jesse Hill Drive in Atlanta.
Hill was born in St. Louis and worked for the Atlanta Life Insurance Company. He eventually became the company’s president and CEO, and in 1978 became the first African-American president of the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce — now called the Metro Atlanta Chamber.
As a civil rights leader, Hill helped collect bail money for incarcerated demonstrators, worked in voter registration initiatives and was a co-founder of the Atlanta Inquirer — Atlanta’s first black newspaper. He served as publisher until 1985.