Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, on the death of businessman Herman J. Russell: Today, the City of Atlanta has lost one one the best men it has ever produced. No words can express the depth of our sorrow or fill the void created by the passing of Mr. Herman J. Russell. He is an exemplar and few men have done more to make our city a place where you can bring and build your dreams. As the founder of one of America's most successful construction and real estate businesses, Mr. Russell shattered countless barriers creating a path of greater opportunity for all of us to follow. When history catches its breath, Mr. Russell's life work will place him among the most significant heroes of the Civil Rights Movement, and the Atlanta business community because of his unwavering commitment to the forward progress of our city.
From Milton J. Little, CEO of the United Way of Metro Atlanta, on both men's passing: "The philanthropists' legacies include breaking down barriers that improved civil rights for all citizens in our region and leading efforts that expanded our community to what we now call Greater Atlanta. Carl was instrumental in helping desegregate Georgia's public schools and Herman – founder of H.J. Russell & Co., one of the most successful real estate development and construction companies in the country – became the first African-American member of the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce."