I got my Middle name Keith from an Uncle way back in the day name Hezikah Keith Hill. He was a very wealthy & influntial Preacher from Orlando, FL. He & his wife, Viola T. Hill, raised my Grandmother Mary & helped Bessie Coleman to get her 1st plane.
Bessie spent time with them whenever she was in FL. She stayed with them on her Florida visits. My Grandmother stayed with them during this time. She was a little girl at the time and saw Bessie right there in the house with her.
Later, Bessie Coleman was in a very bad plane crash that pretty much crippled her. Some said she would never walk again, let alone fly again. Bessie was not going to be kept out the air. She was determined to fly again. Yet, she did not have a plane to do her stunts in any more. The Hills were major backers in her getting another plane.
Later, Bessie had another Plane Crash, & she her mechanic died. The Hills had her body shipped to Orlando. They gave her a big funeral. Then, rode with her body to Chicago where another Big Funeral was held.
My Grandmother Mary grew from a little girl with Inspiration from her childhood & became good friends with Mrs. Mary McCleod Bethune, Founder of Bethune Cookman College. Mrs. Bethune brought Army barracks and used them as some of the 1st building on Bethune Cookman’s Campus.
* My Grandmother Mary (left) & Aunt Mary (right) at My Father’s Graduation from Bethune Cookman College–August 1951. My Aunt Mary, his Sister, Graduated Spring of 1951 from Bethune Cookman College.
* Aunt Mary Turner, Deltas & Mrs. Bethune (Aunt Mary is on the bottom row—2nd from left). Daddy and Aunt Mary grew up playing on BCC campus. The Daytona Black Community was very close, and looked out for each other. Aunt Mary was part of the Charter Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta.
My Grandmother brought some old Army Barracks like Mrs Mary McCleod Bethune & built up the Daytona Black Business Community…off 2nd Ave. They had 7 successful businesses. Motel, Restaurant, Shoe shine business, schools, etc.
Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway, Ella Fitzgerald, Jackie Robinson & his wife Rachael & many other Big Time Entertainers, Sports Stars, & Actors ate there. Local Community people ate their too. Prices were good. Food Good. Hospitality Good. They stayed at the Motels too. Because they could not eat or stay at motels on the other side of town. During that time, Black people wanted to patronize their own businesses. We were not sad & depressed about not eating at white people places. We wanted Soul Food. Not Hospital/bland tasting food.