By George, He Did It! A True Scholar's Autobiography
by George R. Hall
PageTurner Press and Media

"To this day, I continue to approach every task and milestone of my life as if it were my only opportunity to perform."

Beginning school in the late 1930s, author Hall— young, black, and poor—was misjudged by a kindergarten teacher who predicted he would not "become much of anything." As Hall proves in this lively memoir, she couldn't have been more wrong. In eighth grade, he was chosen as class valedictorian, attained the honor roll throughout high school, and once again served as valedictorian and salutatorian. A fine singer, he joined a gospel quintet as a young teen. Tall and physically agile, he participated in all sports. His skills helped him enter Ohio University. After gaining a degree in education and serving in the Air Force Reserves, he began teaching in Cincinnati. With a master's degree, he moved up to the assistant principal and principal positions. In one such post, he forbade teachers from paddling students and instituted counseling and other interventions. He was the first black principal at Glendale Elementary School in Ohio. Even after retirement, he continued to hold supervisory positions, moving to Florida and Georgia, enjoying each new step up the achievement ladder.

Hall writes conversationally while conveying significant points to ponder regarding how blacks were treated within the system. He recounts the gradual changes, unflinchingly seeing some schools such as one where he worked as only yielding to integration out of fear of legal reprisal. He offers helpful advice and challenges to his readers, extolling family values and the ability to laugh at oneself and put the needs of others above one's own. A host of photographs and a brief genealogy tracing family roots back to Africa underpin this thoughtful account of his accomplishments. Hall's recollections will engage readers in a new generation who need a reminder of how things used to be, how they have changed, and how, with "George-like" determination, further needed improvements can come about.

Return to USR Home