As a shy, insecure girl from a Virginia family of tenant farmers, Dr. Margaret Bynum Hill “learned to be bold out of adversity.” In this heartfelt memoir, Hill shares life events that made her a strong, independent, optimistic educational leader and community servant.
Hill is grateful for humble beginnings, sibling rivalry, and parents that inspired creativity, respect, and curiosity. She was an unmotivated student, but caring teachers showed her how “to be a better person.” Graduating at 16, she attended segregated Norfolk State University for secretarial science, unsure of this decision but encouraged by mentors.
As the civil rights movement evolved, she blossomed along with it. Her experiences facing housing, roommate, and employment tussles, along with committing youthful indiscretions, led to valuable life lessons during college years. Education and work experiences raised her confidence and opened doors.
The strength of Hill’s memoir is her simple story telling. Full of anecdotes, lessons learned, and sage advice, her tone is modest and reflective. She seems surprised by her own achievements and avoids listing her many accolades, relating instead significant moments with colleagues, students, and community folks who shaped her and made her aware of her own worth. At times Hill’s stories wander, and there are errant typos. The book’s closure is an awkward script for her funeral. But readers will likely forgive these flaws.
At the heart of Hill’s professional decisions is her drive to deliver a meaningful education to students in need, and teachers, parents, and educators will enjoy her insight and sage advice. Full of educational philosophy and her own creative axioms, Hill writes a personal love-letter and is a model for educators everywhere.
Also available as an ebook.