Jesse Hill Jr. (r) speaks with Coca-Cola chairman Neville Isdell in downtown Atlanta at the site of the future Center for Civil and Human Rights in 2008. (USA TODAY/Jenni Girtman, Center for Civil and Human Rights)
ATLANTA -- Some famous faces are expected at the funeral for an Atlanta civil rights icon.
Jesse Hill Jr. passed away Monday morning at age 86.
His visitation will be held at 11 a.m. Friday at Big Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church on Auburn Avenue.
A visitation was held Thursday night at Big Bethel AME.
"Jesse Hill's influence has been felt in all areas of humanity; government, finance and education," DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis said in a statement Tuesday. "He was a champion of the civil rights movement and one of the first and the few that realized the importance of personal wealth to the African American community. He left a lasting impression and will be sorely missed."
Hill blazed many trails during his life. He helped start Atlanta's first black community newspaper, the Atlanta Inquirer, in 1960 and served as publisher until 1985.
He was the founder and former CEO of the Atlanta Life Insurance Company, from which he retired in 1995.
He was the first African-American chairman of the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce. And he served on the board of directors for the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
His cause of death was not released.
Dexter King, chairman of the King Center, issued a statement Monday following Hill's death:
I was deeply saddened to learn of the death of Mr. Jesse Hill Jr., who was a strong supporter of the King Center, as well as one of Atlanta's most active and engaged civic and business leaders. On behalf of the King Center, I extend my heartfelt condolences to Mrs. Hill and the Hill family. Mr. Hill's numerous contributions to the growth and development of the King Center, as our board chairman from 1979-93 and as a volunteer, were instrumental in all that we have been able to achieve over the years. His energetic example of dedication to the legacy of my father and mother remains an inspiration to us all.
The statement added that the King Center plans to include a tribute to Hill in its Salute to Greatness Dinner on Jan. 19.