- Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site
International Civil Rights: Walk of Fame
Jesse Hill, Jr.
Jesse Hill, Jr.
1926 - present

Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Jesse Hill Jr. arrived in Atlanta in 1949 at the age of 23, having just completed a Bachelor of Science in math and physics from Lincoln University and a MBA in Actuarial Science from the University of Michigan.

Joining the Atlanta Life Insurance Company initially as an Actuarial Assistant, Hill rose steadily through the corporate ranks to become the firm’s third President, Chief Executive Officer, and Chairman of the Executive Committee, a position he held for over 20 years.

During his tenure, Atlanta Life continued to experience dramatic growth and profitability. He continued to build upon the company’s strong tradition of supporting human and civil rights activism.

Hill directed his company to quietly underwrite civil rights initiatives throughout the south, such as providing bail money to release individuals arrested in sit-ins and other protests.

For over fifteen years, he served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Martin Luther King Jr. Center. In addition, Hill chaired the local chapter of the NAACP, and founded The Atlanta Inquirer, the weekly newspaper that became the voice of the civil rights movement in Atlanta.

Mr. Hill has been the recipient of numerous distinguished national and international awards, and Honorary Degrees.

Jesse and his wife, Azira, are the parents of two daughters and grandparents of six.