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Herndon Home

by Chris Schroder

The journey of Alonzo Herndon from a slave to millionaire is the ultimate rags-to-riches story. Born into slavery in 1858 and emancipated at 7, Herndon and his family, destitute and homeless, became sharecroppers in rural Georgia.

In 1878, Herndon left home on foot with $11, stopped in Jonesboro and opened a barbershop. The barbering business thrived. Herndon invested in real estate and founded Atlanta Life Insurance Company, establishing himself as a successful businessman. He became Atlanta’s first African American millionaire and generously supported many community organizations.

Built in 1910, the Herndon Home was declared a National Historic Landmark in 2000.

Mark C. McDonald, Georgia Trust

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