When you look at the Atlanta skyline, today you should note that much of it had the hand of the black man in its design and construction. On Saturday, November 15, 2014, it was announced that businessman and philanthropist Herman J. Russell has made his transition to the ancestors.
Russell’s story is one of dogged determination, hard work and a keen eye towards business opportunities. He was born on December 23, 1930 to Maggie Googson and Rogers Russell of Atlanta and was the youngest of eight children. As a child, Russell worked odd jobs for his father, who was a plasterer, which helped to instill a good work ethic. When he was a sophomore in high school, he purchased his first property at the age of 16. He later developed the property and was able to leverage it to pay for his college tuition at Tuskegee University.
Russell inherited his father’s business in 1957 and went on to grow it to one of the largest general contracting companies in the country known as “H. J. Russell Construction Company”. Some of the company’s most well known projects include the Atlanta landmarks Hartsfield – Jackson Atlanta international Airport, the Georgia Dome, Philips Arena, and Turner Field. The company is a nationally recognized leader in construction and real estate development as well as the single largest minority business enterprise real estate firm in the United States.