Archived Story

‘Keep on keepin’ on’

Published 10:53pm Friday, November 2, 2012

I am 91 years old and a lifelong native and descendant of freed slaves and Native American Indians from the historic Hobson village in Suffolk.

I am a reverent product of motherhood who — along with my deceased husband Ernest “Buster” Hill Jr., to whom I was married for 65 priceless years — raised nine children and three grandchildren.

My early life during segregation was a product of Hobson Graded School in Nansemond County, where I was privileged to complete the seventh grade. However, my vision, like that of other pioneers, was to reap the fruits of integration and further my education through future generations.

My children, friends and neighbors always assumed I, as a politically active Hobson resident, was a retired school teacher. Indeed, I had a lifelong commitment to education, and I am currently pursuing my high school diploma.

Though not from my own doing, I have encountered bumps in the road as result of this pursuit, but as President Obama would say, “I’m gonna keep on keepin on.”

I have taken three parts of the GED exam. I passed Part 1 — Literature, Arts, Reading, and Part 2 — Social Stuidies. I made a 300 on my Arithmetic test, but in order for me to pass I need to score a minimum 410. I was always good in Arithmetic and second in my class, but I don’t expect instant gratification.

I know President Barack Obama is the very essence of servant leadership, for like him, I possess uncanny foresight. In 1963, integration was gained in Nansemond County Public Schools, and with God’s grace and mercy, my husband and I were among the first parents to send their children to embrace integration at Chuckatuck Elementary School.

We taught our children to earn their own keep, to let their character be judged based on merit, not to expect instant gratification and that all good things come to those who wait.

Yet these campaign ads penalize and persecute President Obama, a man who holds dear these same principals. These ads call for something to be fixed now that was made a mess of for eight years. These ads are promoting instant gratification, something that we teach our children not to expect.

Yet we penalize folks, especially our youth, for engaging in illegal activities such as selling drugs because it brings instant gratification.

President Obama is the bridge that I praise for picking up the cross that has become too heavy for senior citizens like me to carry. I thank him for keeping the faith and renewing my hope in believing that yes, I can move forward.

Keep on keepin’ on.

Marie Hill is a 91-year-old resident of the village of Hobson in North Suffolk. Email her at


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