Georgia St Honors College Gets $200k Grant for Human Rights Initiative

ATLANTA—The Georgia State University Honors College will endow the Herndon Human Rights Initiative with a $200,000 grant from the Rich Foundation.

The initiative will use teaching and research on the Herndon legacy to enhance community understanding of historical and modern-day human rights issues.

Born into slavery in 1858, Alonzo F. Herndon imagined a better life and worked tirelessly to build it. He achieved business success unprecedented in his day, first as a barber and later as founder and president of Atlanta Life Insurance Company. His only son, Norris, committed financial resources to the student-led Committee on the Appeal for Human Rights in Atlanta and the modern civil rights movement in general. Herndon’s contributions were critical, yet quiet and behind the scenes.

More than 150 years after Alonzo Herndon’s birth – and 90 years after the formation of the Atlanta Life Insurance Company – the Honors College occupies the company’s former home at 100 Auburn Ave. The Honors College is committed to educating its students and surrounding community about Alonzo and Norris Herndon’s lives, their values and character, and their role in the modern Civil Rights Movement.

The Herndon Human Rights Initiative focuses on four major components:

  • Herndon Human Rights course
  • Digital mapping project
  • Lecture series
  • Student scholarships

“The Georgia State University Honors College is making a difference in our community thanks to the generous and continuing support of the Rich Foundation trustees,” said Larry Berman, founding dean of the Honors College. “Their decision to endow in perpetuity the Herndon Human Rights Initiative will allow generations of young Honors College students to make a difference in the human rights challenges of the present and future.”

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