Azira Gonzalez Hill, referred to as Atlanta’s Angel for her works as a civil rights activist and nurse, was born in Holguin, Cuba, on October 28, 1923, to a large working class family of eight siblings. As a young woman, Hill worked diligently as a student to provide opportunities that would enable her to flourish outside of Cuba; because of her academic achievements, she was finally afforded the opportunity to come to the United States to study through her church. Hill attended Bethune Cookman, Morris Brown, and Georgia State University, ultimately becoming a registered nurse. Hill married Jesse Hill, a prominent civil rights figure, with whom she had two daughters.
Hill worked as a nurse at Grady Hospital Educational Department, Price High School, and Ralph Bunche Middle School, before her retirement. After her retirement, Hill remained an active member of Big Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church; the Azalea Links, Inc.; the Inquirer Literary Club; the Circlelets; and the Quettes. Hill also founded the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Talent Development Program at the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, which named its scholarship fund in her honor. Hill has been involved with the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Center’s Board of Directors; the Board of Directors of the Center for Puppetry Arts; the Southeastern Flower Show; the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra; and St. Joseph’s Mercy Care. In 2008, Hill was named a life director of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, an honor which at the time only belonged to five other individuals.
Hill has received awards from the Association of the National Negro Musicians for promoting Black music and musicians, and the Martin Luther King Federal Commission for her service. Hill also received the Golden Rule Award for community service from J.C. Penney; the Ralph Bunche Middle School Medal; the School Nurses Association for Merit and Distinction; the Lexus Leader of the Arts Award; and a Mercy Care Award for Service.