This is a true story of a young boy by the name of Floyd Hill. He grew up in rural North Carolina, with 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 kept his dream alive. During his early 20s, Floyd did purchase his dream farm — a 227.2-acre property 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. Once the white family discovered a black man purchased their farm, they became determined to get it back. The Ku Klux Klan burned crosses on his lawn, his family was terrorized, but young Floyd kept fighting.
In 1945 though, the Supreme Court ruled in his favor, with 19th Chief Justice William H. Bobbitt declaring in the case of DeBruhl vs. L. Harvey & Son Company that no living DeBruhl or any unborn DeBruhls could ever again file suit for possession of the Hill farm.
Today, my grandfather and grandmother, Floyd and Pearl Hill, are deceased. We are all so proud of their efforts, and 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, living only four decades following the abolishment of slavery in America, 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 42 years after the end of slavery.
Pappy used what NASA calls “Visual Motor Rehearsal,” visualizing one day owning his own farm. He was still in the early years of so-called “freedom,” when education wasn’t offered to little black boys and girls on an equal basis. Born 47 years before the historic Brown vs. Board of Education case in 1954, Pappy went to school in a church that was a school by day. It only went as far as the sixth grade, but he graduated and was considered educated.
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!”
When old enough, he began to work as a farmhand, always observing everything his overseers did, 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 he one day got the opportunity to buy the farm he always wanted. Attorney Watt Lero took him to auction, purchased the farm and, without delay, 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. However, his able-bodied, white attorney helped him during this period in history, all the way through the Supreme Court. It worked!
What an exciting — and true — story! It 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 the host of “Think on These Things,” a radio talk show on WYCB-AM, 1340, Fridays at 6 p.m. Contact her at 202-518-3192 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.