By Kamille D. Whittaker
A fascinating morsel about Atlanta’s insider politics comes midway into the “Mixing Business and Politics” chapter of Herman J. Russell’s memoir, “Building Atlanta.” At the time, many of Atlanta’s African Methodist Episcopal churches’ bishops were close friends of Russell and businessman Jesse Hill Jr. Former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young, who wanted to be elected to Georgia’s Fifth District Seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in 1972, knew he needed to go through the bishops after speaking with local political strategist Fred Bennett. “Nobody can get the preachers together but Mr. Hill and Mr. Russell,” said Bennett. “Why would they come together?” asked Young. “Well, Herman built all those churches and Jessie financed them.”
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