- Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site
International Civil Rights: Walk of Fame
Henry James Thomas
Henry James Thomas
1941 - present

Henry "Hank" James Thomas is President of Victoria Hospitality Properties, Inc. which develops and operates Marriott Branded Hotels, and is Vice President of the Hayon, Inc. Group, which owns and operates McDonald’s Quick Service Restaurants.

Born in Jacksonville, Florida and educated at Howard University, “Hank” has been a McDonald’s Restaurant Franchisee since 1982.

Thomas is a veteran Civil Rights foot soldier with 22 arrests for civil disobedience, one of the original thirteen Freedom Riders, a committed Freedom Fighter, and a Vietnam War Purple Heart recipient. He was once sentenced to six months in the Mississippi State Penitentiary for Treason against the state for using a "Whites only" men’s room in Jackson, Mississippi.

As a Civic leader, Thomas has served on numerous boards. He’s a past Vice Chair of the Piney Woods Country Life School (one of two remaining African American boarding schools in the States) in Jackson, Mississippi. In 2006 Thomas received the distinguished "Buffalo Soldier" Award from his alma mater, Howard University.

Hank is a life member of the NAACP, an active fundraiser for the UNCF and a retired member of the 100 Black Men of DeKalb County.

He and his wife, Yvonne, have 2 children and 4 grandchildren.