Jesse Hill, Jr. the retired CEO of the Atlanta Life Insurance Co. and a legendary civil rights activist, passed away this morning. He was 86 years old.
Hill was a civil rights leader, business executive and actuary. He was also a pioneer and community leader who worked closely with Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the creator of The Atlanta Inquirer.
During Hill’s Presidency, the Atlanta Life Insurance Company became the largest black-owned life insurance company in the nation and in 2008 he was inducted into the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame.
The news of Hill’s passing was provided by David Stokes of the Inquirer. No cause of death was given.
In addition to his historic time as the CEO of Atlanta Life Insurance Co., Hill was 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 he helped to desegregate the Atlanta Public School system. He also one one of the leading figures to desegregate the University System of Georgia.
Hill moved to Atlanta in 1949 and began his business career, joining Atlanta Life Insurance Company, one of the country’s largest and most successful black-owned businesses, as assistant actuary. His position with Atlanta Life Insurance made him the second African American actuary in the country.
When he first moved to the city, Hill lived at the Butler Street YMCA, which was then the headquarters of the city’s Black leadership. There he worked with other noted Black Atlanta leaders like King and CT Vivian. He also volunteered for both the Urban League and the NAACP.