Building Atlanta

How I Broke Through Segregation to Launch a Business Empire

By Herman J. Russell; Bob Andelman; Andrew Young (Introduction by)
(Chicago Review Press, Hardcover, 9781613746943, 277pp.)

Publication Date: April 2014

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Description

Born into a blue-collar family in the Jim Crow South, Herman J. Russell built a shoeshine business when he was twelve years old--and used the profits to buy a vacant lot where he built a duplex while he was still a teen. Over the next fifty years, he continued to build businesses, amassing one of the nation's most profitable minority-owned conglomerates.

In "Building Atlanta," Russell shares his inspiring life story and reveals how he overcame racism, poverty, and a debilitating speech impediment to become one of the most successful African American entrepreneurs, Atlanta civic leaders, and unsung heroes of the civil rights movement. Not just a typical rags-to-riches story, Russell achieved his success through focus, planning, and humility, and he shares his winning advice throughout. As a millionaire builder before the civil rights movement took hold and a friend of Dr. King, Ralph Abernathy, and Andrew Young, he quietly helped finance the civil rights crusade, putting up bond for protestors and providing the funds that kept King's dream alive. He provides a wonderful behind-the-scenes look at the role the business community, both black and white working together, played in Atlanta's peaceful progression from the capital of the racially divided Old South to the financial center of the New South.

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