The business leader Alonzo Franklin Herndon (1858–1927) was the son of a white farmer and a slave mother. Following his emancipation, he spent several years as a laborer before settling in Atlanta and finding work as a barber. Over time, he built his clientele to include some of the city’s most prominent citizens, from politicians to businessmen. He eventually expanded his activities, starting an insurance firm in 1905 that allowed him to become a part of the African American elite, a growing force in the city. Several major publications, including Fortune Magazine, recognized Herndon’s business success and philanthropy. The profile excerpted below included photos of his family and his estate as Herndon prepared a trip to Europe for his second marriage.
Pamela Lee Gray
wood carver, sculptor, and folk artist, was born Jesse James Aaron in Lake City, Florida, to descendants of slaves and Seminole Indians. Aaron attended school for less than one year before he was sent to work as a contract laborer for local farms. Trained as a baker when he was twenty-one years old, he found he enjoyed the creativity it required. He opened several bakeries, worked as a cook at Gainesville's Hotel Thomas from 1933 to 1937, and then cooked for a variety of fraternities and hospitals in Florida. Aaron also worked as a cook aboard the Seaboard Air Line Railroad during this time.
Aaron married Leeanna Jenkins, and when the family settled in northwest Gainesville in the 1930s they opened a nursery. From this point until 1968 when Aaron became a folk artist at the age of eighty one it is difficult to determine what is ...