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Herman Russell

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Information about Herman Russell

Profile image of Herman Russell

Profession

Category:
BusinessMakers
Occupation(s):
Construction Executive

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Dark Colors
Favorite Food:
Fish, Vegetables
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
New Zealand, Europe
Favorite Quote:
Do the best you can.

Birthplace

Born:
12/23/1930
Birth Location:
Atlanta, Georgia

Profession

Category:
BusinessMakers
Occupation(s):
Construction Executive

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Dark Colors
Favorite Food:
Fish, Vegetables
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
New Zealand, Europe
Favorite Quote:
Do the best you can.

Birthplace

Born:
12/23/1930
Birth Location:
Atlanta
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Biography

Atlanta construction executive Herman Russell is a civic leader and philanthropist whose construction company ranks as the fourth largest in the U.S. The company has annual sales of more than $150 million and employs 700.

Russell, chairman/CEO of H. J. Russell & Co., was born on December 23, 1930, in Atlanta, one of seven children of Maggie and Rogers Russell. His father was a plasterer from whom he learned the trade starting at the age of twelve. He bought his first parcel of land for $125 at age sixteen, later building a duplex on the property. He used his savings to help pay his tuition at Tuskegee University. Returning to Atlanta, he worked alongside his father. After his father's death in 1957, Russell took over the company and expanded it into a conglomerate that includes general contracting, construction/program management, real estate development and property and asset management. Russell's other interests are in airport concessions.

In 1963, Russell became the first black member, and later president, of the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce. He also played a leading role in the modern Civil Rights Movement working very closely with Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. Russell has served also as a board member for civic organizations like the Allen Temple; Butler Street YMCA; Central Atlanta Progress; Tuskegee University; the NAACP Atlanta chapter; Citizens Trust Bank; Midtown Improvement District and the Georgia State University Advisory Board.

An avid supporter of Atlanta and its youth, Russell is the founder of the Herman J. Russell Entrepreneurial Scholarship Foundation for an Atlanta elementary school. Among his recognition awards are induction into the Junior Achievement Atlanta Business Hall of Fame in 1992, and recipient of the Horatio Alger Award in 1991. He and his wife, Otelia, lived in midtown Atlanta. They are the parents of two sons and a daughter, who are executives with H. J. Russell Co.

Herman Russell passed away on November 15, 2014, at the age of 83.

Herman J. Russell was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 15, 2002.

See how Herman Russell is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Photo - Herman Russell presents a photograph of his mother and other members of a church organization
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Photo - Herman Russell presents a photograph of his grandfather
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Photo - Herman Russell presents a photograph of his mother and niece in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Photo - Herman Russell presents a photograph of his mother in front of their Martin Street home
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Photo - Herman Russell presents a photograph of his uncle
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Photo - Herman Russell presents an Army photograph of his brother Lawrence Russell
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Photo - Herman Russell presents a photograph of his sister
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Photo - Herman Russell presents a photograph of his brother and friends in Buffalo, New York, 1950s
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Photo - Herman Russell with his sister
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Photo - Herman Russell with his father, mother and sister at their home, 1947
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Photo - Herman Russell presents a photograph of his sister
  • Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Photo - Herman Russell and unidentified group at David T. Howard, 1946
  • Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Photo - Herman Russell with unidentified woman, 1946
  • Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Photo - Herman Russell playing football
  • Tape: 1 Story: 15 - Photo - Herman Russell at the Dogwood construction site, Atlanta, Georgia, 1980
  • Tape: 1 Story: 16 - Photo - Herman Russell in his office, 1974
  • Tape: 1 Story: 17 - Photo - Herman Russell and Jesse Hill
  • Tape: 1 Story: 18 - Photo - Herman Russell and Jhon Porter
  • Tape: 1 Story: 19 - Photo - Herman Russell and Tom Bradley
  • Tape: 1 Story: 20 - Photo - Herman Russell with Jimmy Carter, Vernon Jordan and Jesse Hill in the Oval Office, Washington, D.C., 1977-1981
  • Tape: 1 Story: 21 - Photo - Herman Russell, Vernon Jordan, Jesse Hill and unidentified man, Oval Office, Washington, D.C., 1977-1981
  • Tape: 1 Story: 22 - Photo - Herman Russell, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Andrew Young and Ralph Abernathy
  • Tape: 1 Story: 23 - Photo - Herman Russell with NSI board members, 1989
  • Tape: 1 Story: 24 - Photo - Herman Russell, President Bill Clinton and Ann Jackson
  • Tape: 1 Story: 25 - Photo - Herman Russell and Mayor Willie Herenton, 1990-1992
  • Tape: 1 Story: 26 - Photo - Herman Russell, Otelia Russell and Donata Russell, 1986
  • Tape: 1 Story: 27 - Photo - Herman Russell holding his son Herman Russell Jr., 1959
  • Tape: 1 Story: 28 - Photo - Herman Russell with Herman Russell Jr. and Donata Russell
  • Tape: 1 Story: 29 - Photo - Herman Russell in ROTC uniform, 1952
  • Tape: 1 Story: 30 - Photo - Herman Russell presents a photograph of his parents, Maggie and Roger Russell
  • Tape: 1 Story: 31 - Photo - Herman Russell with his family
  • Tape: 1 Story: 32 - Photo - Herman Russell, family portrait
  • Tape: 1 Story: 33 - Photo - Herman Russell with grandchildren
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Slating of Herman Russell interview
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Herman Russell's favorites
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Herman Russell talks about his mother's background
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Herman Russell talks about his father's background
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Herman Russell lists his siblings
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Herman Russell recalls his earliest childhood memories
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Herman Russell reflects on his childhood home
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Herman Russell remembers sights and smells of Summerhill, Atlanta, Georgia
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Herman Russell touches upon the importance of church during his childhood
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Herman Russell briefly speaks about elementary school
  • Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Herman Russell talks about his speech impediment
  • Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Herman Russell describes his successes as a child
  • Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Herman Russell speaks about his entrepreneurial talents while growing up
  • Tape: 2 Story: 14 - Herman Russel tells about the influence his father had on him
  • Tape: 2 Story: 15 - Herman Russell recalls getting his first bank loan
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Herman Russell reminisces about his high school era athletic exploits
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Herman Russell speaks about one of his heroes, Jackie Robinson
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Herman Russell talks about buying and building on his first piece of land
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Herman Russell's decides to attend Tuskegee Institute
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Herman Russell remembers managing a band
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Herman Russell's experience at Tuskegee Institute
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Herman Russell talks about managing his duplex while away at college
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Herman Russell describes Tuskegee's highlights and his current involvement with them
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Herman Russell outlines his business's growth through the late 1970s
  • Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Herman Russell tells of his business relationship with Herman Talmadge
  • Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Herman Russell describes his professinal relationship with whites during the 1960s
  • Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Herman Russell talks about his insurance company
  • Tape: 3 Story: 13 - Herman Russell describes his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement
  • Tape: 3 Story: 14 - Herman Russell talks about Civil Rights leaders in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Tape: 3 Story: 15 - Herman Russell talks about Martin Luther King Jr. and Vernon Jordan
  • Tape: 3 Story: 16 - Herman Russell tells of his involvement in the television industry
  • Tape: 3 Story: 17 - Herman Russell briefly tells the current status of his business
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Herman Russell explains his experience as a cable franchisee
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Herman Russell tells of his involvement in the television industry
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Herman Russell talks about his wholesale operation comared to the airport business
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Herman Russell talks about Judy Byrd
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Herman Russell speaks about his role in politics
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Herman Russell discusses the presence of African Americans in politics
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Herman Russell tells of his involvement with the Citizens Trust Bank
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Herman Russell talks about his current and future business plans
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Herman Russell explains the importance of black business ownership
  • Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Herman Russell expresses his feelings on the status of the black community
  • Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Herman Russell states his opinion on how to better the black community
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Herman Russell gives his opinions on family and raising children
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Herman Russell talks of the younger generations becoming involved in business
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Herman Russell speaks about his legacy
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Photo - Herman Russell in front of H.J. Russell Company headquarters
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Photo - Herman Russell during construction of his duplex, 1947