On Saturday, business icon and philanthropist Herman J. Russell passed away. Russell, an entrepreneur and philanthropist turned a once small plastering firm into one of the most successful Black-owned construction and real estate companies in the United States. Russell, a son of Atlanta, was a key financier of the Civil Rights movement. He was also responsible for developing most of Atlanta’s skyline.
On Monday, Roland Martin and “NewsOne Now” paid tribute to Herman J. Russell by highlighting his accomplishments in business and his involvement in the Civil Rights movement.
Dr. Bernice King, CEO of the King Center issued the following statement after the passing of Herman Russell:
“As a pioneering African American business leader, Mr. Russell’s impact on the city of Atlanta and the world has left an indelible imprint on skylines, not only in Atlanta, but throughout the country, for generations to come.”
Birmingham, Alabama Mayor William Bell said, “I think Herman [Russell] should be studied in all business schools, whether it is Black, White, whatever. He is a role model of any business person coming from nowhere to becoming a major player in the political life of a city [and] in the economic life of a city.”
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed told Martin, “I don’t think it is an accident that Atlanta has one of the largest Black middle-classes in America and one of the highest number of multi-million dollar businesses in America.” Reed added, “I think that is an essential part of Mr. Russell’s legacy.”
Listen to Martin, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, Rock Newman, Birmingham Mayor William Bell, Rock Newman, Lauren Victoria Burke and Bunnie Jackson-Ransom reflect on the life and legacy of business titan, Herman J. Russell below.