Henry “Hank” James Thomas

I 1941

Graduated Howard University, Washington, D.C. Civil rights activist and businessman. He was arrested 22 times for civil disobedience, convicted of breach of peace and served 39 days in Parchman Penitentiary. He was one of the 13 original Freedom Riders, a founding member of SNCC (Students Nonviolence Coordinating Committee), a Field Secretary for C.O.R.E. (Congress of Racial Equality. Served in the US Army (1963-1966), earned six combat medals including the Purple Heart medal for combat wounds received. A successful entrepreneur and businessman having owned several restaurants Dairy Queen, Burger King and McDonald’s restaurants and Marriott Fairfield Inns and Towne Place Suites Hotels. He is an active civic leader serving on the boards of Morehouse School of Medicine (Atlanta), the National Human and Civil Rights Center (Atl), Tougaloo College (Jackson, MS), and The Atlanta Youth Academy. He financed the placement of historic markers installed in St. Augustine, FL commemorating Dr. ML King and the Children’s Night Marchers.
He has established scholarships at Howard University (Washington, D.C.), Bethune Cookman University School of Hospitality, Morehouse School of Medicine (Atl), and Talladega College (AL).
NAACP life member.