Alonzo Franklin Herndon

By: Emma Piper

Alonzo's Early Life

Alonzo was born in Walton County (Social Cricle) Ga , on June 26 , 1858.

He was born as a slave his father Frank Herndon was his master and his mother was Sophenie. He lived the first seven years of his life as a slave . When the 13th amendment was passed him his mother , younger brother Thomas , and maternal grandmother entered freedom homeless and destitute. As a young boy he worked as a laborer and a peddler . Helping his family.


Alonzo Herndon was founder and president of the Atlanta Life Insurance Company one of the most successful black-owned insurance businesses in the nation. Before he founded the Atlanta Life Insurance Company he opened a barber shop called The Crystal Palace because of all the chandeliers and crystal design . The barber shop was very popular and wealthy white men were the main costumes . Alonzo wasn't aloud to get a hair cut in his own store because he was African American. He also bought server at houses in the Atlanta area. When Alonzo died he was one of the wealthiest men in the south.


During the time Alonzo was trying to make a living poor white men were angry that Alonzo was making more money than him . This was a worldwide problem this led to the Atlamta Race Riot in 1906. White mobs killed dozens of blacks, wounded scores of others, and inflicted considerable property damage. One of the staff members at the Crystal Palace was dragged out of the barber shop and killed other staff members were beaten . Being African American during times like these and being successful was dangerous and hard .Alonzo only had one year of school knowledge which made it that much more difficult to run and create a business.
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Later Life

Alonzo married an actress named Adrienne Herndon and had a son named Norris . Adrienne died from a disease and Alonzo in 1912 married Jesse Gillespie. Alonzo died July 21 , 1927 in Atlanta Ga. In 1910 the Herndon Home was opened as a historical landmark and museum. It's located in Atlnata Ga. You can visit it and learn more about his life.

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