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Civil rights leader, Atlanta businessman dies

10:44 AM, Dec 18, 2012   |    comments
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)
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ATLANTA -- Jesse Hill Jr., a civil rights leader who helped start Atlanta's first black community newspaper in 1960, has died. He was 86.

Hill and other civil rights leaders founded the Atlanta Inquirer and he served as publisher until 1985. Inquirer Deputy Editor David Stokes says Hill's wife contacted the paper with news of his death Monday.

Hill was born in St. Louis and served on the board of directors for a diverse set of companies and nonprofits. He worked for the Atlanta Life Insurance Company as an actuarial assistant and became the first African-American president of the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, now called the Metro Atlanta Chamber.

During the civil rights movement, he helped organize demonstrations and collected bail money for arrested protesters.

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