The Alonzo Herndon Family

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The Alonzo Herndon Family

1. Who was Alonzo Herndon and what was his contribution to the state of Georgia and its people?

2. How was Alonzo's early life different from his adult one? Relate this to your own life. Do you know of anyone whose life has followed a similar pattern?

3. List in sequential order the jobs Alonzo held during his life.

4. What businesses did Alonzo Herndon own? What population did they serve primarily? How might Herndon's professional life be considered a pioneering one in terms of breaking racial barriers?

5. How did Herndon come to head the Atlanta Mutual Insurance Association?

6. Why do you think it was important for Herndon and other African Americans to own and operate their own businesses?

7. What types of benefits did the Atlanta Mutual Insurance company provide A) to individual policy holders and B) to the African American community at large?

8. What challenges did Herndon face after the 1906 Race Riot, and how did he meet those challenges? (Note: refer to the Georgia Stories On-line section on the Race Riot of 1906 for background information.)

9. How did the Atlanta Mutual Insurance company handle the 1917 Atlanta Fire? (Note: refer to the Georgia Stories On-line section on the Atlanta Fire for background information.)

10. Did Alonzo Herndon's philosophies more closely match those of Booker T. Washington or W.E.B. Du Bois?

11. What was the Niagara Movement? Who were some of its members? What well-known civil rights group evolved from the Niagara Movement?


American dream

Black Bourgeoisie


Jim Crow Laws

Odd Fellows Society

Republican Party


Higher Order Thinking Skills:

Journal article

Merritt, Carole.

The Herndons: Style and Substance of the Black Upper Class in Atlanta, 1880-1930.

Atlanta History: A Journal of Georgia and the South. Vol. 37, No. 3 (Fall 1993).

Atlanta History Center.

1. On page nine of this article, it explains how Blacks attained wealth and upper-class status. Explain why this was the only way they could be more than servants at this time in history.

2. On pages four and five, it tells of two objects the Herndons preserved and displayed in their mansion. Why do you think they saved these?


Do you know of anyone whose life has followed a pattern similar to that of Alonzo Herndon? (Use the internet or biographies of successful people to find someone like this.) If so, interview or read about that person’s life and write it in your own words, create a Power Point presentation about that person, or create a tape/video presentation. Present this to the class. Include how this person’s life has affected your life.

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