Legacy of Pulitzer-nominated author to be celebrated in Albany

February 22, 2017 07:26 PM

Albany’s African American Cultural Center will celebrate the legacy of Mars Hill on Friday. He’s a man you may not have heard of, but as we celebrate Black History Month, we thought his courage and determination makes him someone you might come to admire.

Mars Hill and Alvania Frazier met at a party at the University at Chicago in 1951. The handsome Hill had just graduated and his wife says was quite the catch. However, that degree and his engineering license were not enough to get him an advanced position at engineering firms. They would only hire him as a draftsman.

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Eventually, he would move to Albany to work as an engineer for the state, but trouble followed. Someone had to purchase their house for them. The realtor refused to meet with them because they were black. Once they moved in the home off Western Avenue, a petition drive was started to get them out of the neighborhood.

However, Hill was a determined man, always trying to advance himself and eventually he turned to his second love of writing. He joined a writing class, the oldest in the group. Then, he wrote a book.

That book was titled, "The Moaner's Bench" and like the rest of Hill's life, publishing it wouldn't be easy. It was initially thrown in the trash and later retrieved by an employee who was throwing something away and couldn’t put it down that night.

The book was published, then nominated for a Pulitzer.

In 2016, Mars Hill passed away, but he leaves a legacy about what you can do if you are determined.

More information:

Tickets for Dr. Mars Hill VIP reception


Elaine Houston

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