This is a true Black History story of a young boy by the name of Floyd Hill. He grew up in rural North Carolina, who had a dream that he would someday own a very large farm. Though he was born in 1907, he disregarded the extreme racism in the South, and he kept his dream alive.
During his early 20s, Floyd did purchase his dream farm — 227.2 acres, repossessed from a white family during the Great Depression. In 1943, he had to go back and forth to court, fighting for what was rightfully his. Ku Klux Klan burned crosses on his lawn and his family was terrorized, but young Floyd kept fighting.
In 1945, though, the Supreme Court ruled in his favor. DeBruhl vs. L. Harvey & Son Company Case #167 in the U.S. Library of Congress documents how then-Chief Justice William H. Bobbitt declared that no living DeBruhl or any unborn DeBruhl could ever again file suit for possession of the Hill Farm.
Today, my grandparents Floyd and Pearl Hill are deceased. We are all so proud of their efforts. The Hill Farm and legacy continues. Although this happened 72 years ago, it is worthy of its own place in Black history. Here is a little about my grandfather, Floyd.
As a young boy, Floyd lived on a farm in Beaver Creek, North Carolina, 60 miles from Morehead City Beach, a little town near Kinston. He was born March 26, 1907, just four decades after the abolishment of slavery in America.
Pappy used what NASA calls ‘Visual Motor Rehearsal,’ with his infinite wisdom, was assuming the role of the owner of his own farm, mentally. It was still the early years of so-called freedom, when education wasn’t offered to little Black boys and girls on an equal basis. Pappy finished in a church that was a school by day and a church on Sundays. It only went as far as the sixth grade, but he graduated and was considered educated. Pappy was born 47 years before the historic Brown vs. Board of Education which was passed in 1954.
One day, Pappy said to his mother, “Mama, look all around. You see all of that land, in every direction? Someday, I’m going to own every bit of it!”
Finally old enough, he began to work as a farmhand, always observing everything his overseers do, his mental picture very clear. He made a choice to watch how successful people live, for he knew someday he could live that way as well. He knew he would be the owner of his very own farm.
For the next 30 years, Floyd worked on several farms, continuing to save, work and learn, until Oct. 17, 1945, when he got the opportunity to buy the farm he always wanted. Attorney Watt Lero took him to auction and purchased the farm for him. Without delay, he sold it to Floyd.
Though he was able to purchase the farm, with the help of his attorney and real estate mortgage banker Walter D. LaRoque, Floyd had a big fight on his hands. Once the white family discovered a Black man purchased their farm, they became determined to get it back. However, his able-bodied, white attorney helped him during this period in history, all the way through the Supreme Court. It worked!
This is a lesson in the way to have and use faith! It says so in 2nd Corinthians 5:7, “For we walk by faith, not by sight!”
Lyndia Grant is a speaker/writer living in the D.C. area. Her radio show, “Think on These Things,” airs Fridays at 6 p.m. on 1340 AM (WYCB), a Radio One station. To reach Grant, visit her website, www.lyndiagrant.com, email email@example.com or call 240-602-6295. Follow her on Twitter @LyndiaGrant and on Facebook.