The Atlanta Life Financial Group was founded by Alonzo Herndon in Atlanta, Georgia. Born into slavery, he started in Atlanta as a young barber, eventually owning three shops. He became Atlanta's richest African American and a highly successful businessman. For many years, the life insurance company was one of the most prominent African-American businesses in the United States. The demolished public housing project Herndon Homes was named for Herndon.
In 1905 Herndon purchased The Atlanta Benevolent and Protective Association (later called Atlanta Mutual) for $140, depositing $5000 with the state under their requirement for a kind of guarantee fund. In 1922 this was renamed the Atlanta Life Insurance Company. Herndon expanded the company with branches in numerous other Southern states.
The Atlanta Life Insurance Company building (built 1920) at 148 Auburn Avenue, near the corner of Piedmont Avenue, is part of the National Park Service's Martin Luther King, Jr., Preservation District.