Leading businessman and community advocate Thomas Dortch Jr. has passed at the age of 72. His passing comes months after the city of Atlanta declared Nov. 7 as Thomas W. Dortch Jr. Day.
The chairman of 100 Black Men of America initially got his start in politics by working as an administrative aide for U.S. Senator Sam Nunn in 1974. He would join the 100 Black Men of America in 1986 and eventually became the chairman of the organization’s national board of directors.
For nearly 40 years, Dortch helped the mentoring organization reach new heights with its work in the community. He was honored for contributions with a achievements such as the Presidential Citation for volunteerism by President George Bush; the Martin Luther King, Jr. Distinguished Service Award; Concerned Black Clergy’s Salute to Black Fathers Leadership Award; Georgia Association of Black Elected Officials, Humanitarian Award; Fort Valley State College Alumni Hall of Fame, inductee.
News of Dortch passing resonated throughout the country with several leaders honoring his legacy.
In statement, the Atlanta City Council wrote, “It was clear Thomas Dortch Jr. loved his community, which is why he worked so hard for it. He was a trailblazer, a community advocate, and a renowned speaker with a sharp intellect and a public servant’s heart. As we reflect on his life, we extend our most heartfelt condolences to his family and friends. The city of Atlanta will miss his inspiring example, but his life and his service to the community will always be celebrated and remembered.”
Sen. Raphael Warnock tweeted, “Deeply saddened to hear my friend Thomas “Tommy” Dortch, Jr. of 100 Black Men of America has passed away. He was a trailblazer whose decades of leadership in the community moved Georgia forward and paved the way for so many who have come behind him. Praying for his family & many friends.”
Congresswoman Nikema Williams wrote, “It was an honor to celebrate Mr. Thomas Dortch Jr., an #HBCUMade legend, with my Georgia colleagues and Mr. Dortch’s family and friends in the U.S. Capitol. Our thanks can never measure up to Mr. Dortch’s contributions, but I’m still going to try y’all!”
And Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens wrote, “This is a sad day for our city. We have lost another soldier. Tommy Dortch wasn’t born in Atlanta. He came here to attend school, and never left. And Atlanta is the better for it. Whether during his days in government or during his tenure leading 100 Black Men of Atlanta and later 100 Black Men of America, Tommy never lost sight of his mission. Long before we called it diversity, equity and inclusion, Tommy was hard at work in that space. In matters of equity, not too much happened here that Tommy wasn’t involved in. Tommy was a connector and a facilitator. He knew how to get the right people together to make something good happen for Atlanta. He was also a tireless advocate for our young people. When we decided that 2023 would be Atlanta’s Year of the Youth, I knew that I could count on him sharing his support and wisdom. Tommy once said that he wanted his legacy to be that he put our young people first. Without question, mission accomplished.”