I SEE U, Episode 42: The Gay Black Civil Rights Financier

I SEE U examines the mystique behind the late millionaire, Norris Herndon, as a disappearing family legacy looms before the public knows anything about them



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His father, born into slavery, had become one of the first African American millionaires in the United States. His mother, though devoted to Black civil rights, was a renowned actress and had kept her racial background a secret. And in 1897, Alonzo and Adrienne Herndon had a son – their only child – named Norris Herndon, who would become the second President, inherited by his father, of the historic, Black-owned Atlanta Life Insurance Company. Behind the scenes, Norris was a major financier of the Civil Rights Movement and often gave large sums of money to several organizations, community groups and universities. He also lived a very private life and learned to hide his attraction for men. Could his homosexuality be a reason why his story remains unknown to so many people? Join host Eddie Robinson as I SEE U takes an in-depth look at the life of Norris Herndon with insight and perspective from writer/columnist, Ryan Lee and history scholar, Pamela Flores – both based in Atlanta.


This article is part of the podcast I SEE U with Eddie Robinson

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Eddie Robinson

Eddie Robinson

Executive Producer & Host, I SEE U

A native of Mississippi, Eddie started his radio career as a 10th grader, working as a music jock for a 100,000-Watt (Pop) FM station and a Country AM station simultaneously. While Mississippi Governor Ray Mabus had nominated him for the U.S. Naval Academy in 1991, Eddie had an extreme passion...

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