The Herndons: An Atlanta Family by Carole MerrittThe Herndons: An Atlanta Family by Carole Merritt

The Herndons: An Atlanta Family

byCarole Merritt

Paperback | March 15, 2017

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Born a slave and reared a sharecropper, Alonzo Herndon (1858-1927) was destined to drudgery in the red clay fields of Georgia. Within forty years of Emancipation, however, he had amassed a fortune that far surpassed that of his White slave-master father.

Through his barbering, real estate, and life insurance ventures, Herndon would become one of the wealthiest and most respected African American business figures of his era. This richly illustrated book chronicles Alonzo Herndon's ascent and his remarkable family's achievements in Jim Crow Atlanta.

In this first biography of the Herndons, Carole Merritt narrates how Herndon nurtured the Atlanta Life Insurance Company from a faltering enterprise he bought for $140 into one of the largest Black financial institutions in America; how he acquired the most substantial Black property holdings in Atlanta; and how he developed his barbering business from a one-chair shop into the nation's largest and most elegant parlor, the resplendent, twenty-three chair "Crystal Palace" in the heart of White Atlanta.

The Herndons' world was the educational and business elite of Atlanta. But as Blacks, they were intimately bound to the course of Black life. The Atlanta Race Riot of 1906 and its impact on the Herndons demonstrated that all Blacks, regardless of class, were the victims of racial terrorism.

Through the Herndons, issues of race, class, and color in turn-of-the-century Atlanta come into sharp focus. Their story is one of by-the-bootstraps resolve, tough compromises in the face of racism, and lasting contributions to their city and nation.

CAROLE MERRITT is a former director of the historic Herndon Home museum in Atlanta. She is author of Homecoming: African American Family History in Georgia.
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Title:The Herndons: An Atlanta FamilyFormat:PaperbackDimensions:272 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.68 inPublished:March 15, 2017Publisher:University of Georgia PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0820351822

ISBN - 13:9780820351827

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Reviews

Editorial Reviews

A beautifully bound and illustrated volume . . . by someone who should know the family history well—the curator for twenty years of the Herndon Museum, Carole Merritt.

- Covington News