Hannah, Mack Henry, Jr. (1904–1994)

By: Paul M. Lucko

Type: Biography

Published: January 1, 1995

Mack Henry Hannah, Jr., black business, civic, and political leader, was born on February 8, 1904, in Brenham, Texas, the son of Mack Henry and Daisy (Brown) Hannah. During his childhood the family moved to Port Arthur, where Hannah graduated from Lincoln High School in 1922. He enrolled at Bishop College in Marshall in 1924, graduated in 1927, and won All-American honors as a football player. After serving as a football coach for Lincoln High School in 1929–30, he entered upon numerous business ventures that eventually made him a millionaire and probably the wealthiest black in Texas. From 1930 to 1944 he traveled in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Florida as a salesman for the Orange Casket Company. He organized the Metropolitan Service Life Insurance Company in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1939. He formed a partnership with New Orleans businessman Joseph A. Porter the next year and eventually became the sole owner of their casket company. Hannah also entered into a partnership with a church-construction company and joined a shrimping venture with Leander Perez of Louisiana. He organized a savings and loan association, engaged in real estate developments, and operated the Mack H. Hannah and Sons Funeral Home in Port Arthur.

He was a founder and president of the Texas Federation of Burial Associations and served as chairman of the board of directors for the Negro Day Nursery of Port Arthur. Hannah was a Methodist, assisted the YMCA and the Camp Fire Girls, and was a member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Masons, and the Elks lodge. He served as chairman of the board of directors for Texas Southern University and was a trustee for Bishop College. As a Democrat he reportedly influenced black voters in Jefferson County elections and helped win votes for state leaders Allan Shivers and Lyndon Baines Johnson. He served as United States consul to Liberia for a number of years. He married Reba Othelene Hicks in 1927; the couple had three children. Hannah was the cousin of another black Texas millionaire, Hobart T. Taylor. Hannah died on April 2, 1994.

Louie Robinson, Jr., The Black Millionaire (New York: Pyramid, 1972). Who's Who in Colored America, 1950.
  • Peoples
  • African Americans
  • Business
  • Activism and Social Reform
  • Activists
  • Civic Leaders

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Paul M. Lucko, “Hannah, Mack Henry, Jr.,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 13, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/hannah-mack-henry-jr.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

January 1, 1995

This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: