ATLANTA, Ga. -- Atlanta without Jesse Hill would look very different.
As the chief executive of Atlanta Life, Hill helped finance Dr. King's civil rights movement, desegregate Atlanta Public Schools and the University System of Georgia, helped create Marta and he became the first president of the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce.
Jesse Hill's life is like a sweeping panorama picture. His 86 year narrative ran congruent to the history of change in Atlanta. Mr. Hill's personal relationships forged a new day here with men like Andrew Young.
"He just did everything, he didn't ask," said Young.
They first met in the 1960's during the heat of the civil rights movement. And in 1970- - Ambassador Young ran for congress.
"I lost the election."
Dr. King's best friend, the Rev. Fred Bennett told the then 38-year-old candidate the cold, hard facts of why he lost his house bid.
"You didn't go to Jesse Hill."
" I said I went to all the preachers."
"He said no you just got a few of the preachers," he said, "If you want to get all the preachers you go to Jesse Hill"
"How does he get all the preachers, he's not a preacher."
He said, " You sure are dumb."
"What do you mean?"
He said " Don't you know who Jesse Hill is?"
I said, " He works at Atlanta Life."
"Don't you know who Atlanta Life is?"
He said, "where do you think all these churches in Atlanta get their mortgages?"
Jesse Hill understood power and the power of the African American vote in Atlanta.
He lead the way for Maynard Jackson's election twice. And he knew that Atlanta business rolls quickly. You have to get on board early before it rolls on by without you.
"My wife said why does he call so early? Rev. Bennett said, " Mr. Hill knows all decisions in this town are made by 8 o'clock."
Mr. Hill always has been been a major engine in the life of this city. Ambassador Young says two words best describe his friend.
" Jesse Hill was a wise man."