Stanford University The Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute
Jesse Hill, Jr., adviser to Martin Luther King, Jr. and Jimmy Carter, died Monday
December 17, 2012

Born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, Jesse Hill, Jr. moved to Atlanta in 1949 after completing his Master of Business Administration from the University of Michigan. After taking a position as an assistant actuary with Atlanta Life Insurance Co., Hill quickly climbed the ranks eventually becoming the company's president and chief executive in 1973.

Hill acted as financial and personal adviser to numerous civil rights leaders, including Martin Luther King, Jr., and in 1960 he co-founded the Atlanta Inquirer after determining that the Atlanta Daily World was not supportive of King. He played an integral role in the desegregation of both the Atlanta Public School system and the University System of Georgia. In 1973 Jimmy Carter selected Hill to serve as the first African American chair of the Georgia Board of Regents.

Throughout his life Hill encouraged African American students to get involved in business and helped them secure venture capital for new enterprises. In 1989, Hill described his dedication to promoting entrepreneurship by saying "I think my determination to make a quest for human dignity has to be tied to the quest for economic dignity, and vice versa."

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