PNC Bank and Jazz 91.9 WCLK celebrate Atlanta's African American Business Leaders--Henry “Hank” James Thomas was born on August 29, 1941 in Jacksonville, Florida. He spent most of his childhood in St. Augustine. As a student at Howard University, Hank Thomas joined the first Freedom Rider group on May 4, 1961. On Mothers Day, when the bus Thomas was riding on reached Anniston, Alabama, it was set on fire by the Ku Klux Klan. Ten days later Thomas rode from Montgomery to Jackson, Mississippi. There he was incarcerated at the notorious, Parchman State Prison Farm.