By George, He Did It!

A True Scholar's Autobiography

Non-Fiction - Autobiography
100 Pages
Reviewed on 05/26/2023
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Maria Victoria Beltran for Readers' Favorite

By George, He Did It! A True Scholar's Autobiography by George R Hall is an inspiring story that chronicles the life and career of an extraordinary man. George Ralph Hall was born in 1936 to a poor closely-knit African American family in Wyoming, Ohio. The family lived in Glendale, where racial segregation thrived at this time. In kindergarten, he failed, and his teacher noted that he is 'shy, has no initiative, and no doubt won't become much of anything.' Proving his kindergarten teacher wrong, the little boy grew up to become the first African American school principal at Glendale Elementary School. This book retraces all his challenges while attending Ohio University on a scholarship and how he built his career during the critical years of segregation and racial discrimination in the 1950s and 1960s. This is his story.

George R. Hall's By George, He Did It! A True Scholar's Autobiography is a must-read for students, educators, and anyone who wants to pursue their purpose in life and discover their full potential. Written straightforwardly and casually, the author shares his life experiences, challenges, and accomplishments, and it's both entertaining and motivating. Optimistic and informal, the literary tone is amiable. Early in life, George R. Hall revealed an indomitable spirit to succeed, worth emulating. Aside from providing authenticity to his memoir, the pictures in this book significantly help to tell the story. By George, He Did It! is a genuinely personal, intensely moving, and in the end, joyful journey through the author's extraordinary life.

Pikasho Deka

Growing up in the 1930s as a young black man in segregated Glendale, Ohio, it was not an easy task for George R. Hall to achieve his dreams of completing college and becoming a teacher. An alumnus of Ohio University, George had to excel in both academic and athletic endeavors to have a chance to attend college. Raised by his mother and grandmother in a family with a dark past, George's motivation for a teacher's career was seeded in the sixth grade after he was inspired by his teacher, Ms. Rhetta Smith. In By George, He Did It!, he recounts the personal struggles, societal discrimination, and financial issues which he overcame with the help of his family and a few inspiring mentors that helped him to become a teacher, principal, and eventually a school district administrator.

By George, He Did It! showcases the resilient nature of the human spirit that can overcome seemingly overwhelming odds and guide someone on their way toward achieving their dreams. It is rightly said that a successful man has many people in the background, providing him support in his endeavors. George R. Hall gives a thorough account of his life and how he became a respected principal and school district administrator, navigating the highs and lows with a strong will and the never-ending love and support of family and friends. George's story will inspire you to follow your dreams and rise above the ups and downs of life. Personally, this book was a captivating reading experience for me, and I highly recommend it.

Philip Van Heusen

Do you ever feel like life is against you? Are you struggling with problems you must overcome? If so, you will be inspired and encouraged by reading By George, He Did It! This is the autobiography of George R. Hall. His life’s journey has been about overcoming obstacles as he pursued his dreams. Unfortunately, he was born on the wrong side of the tracks. One of his obstacles was being born into the wrong socioeconomic class. But worse than that, he was born with black skin. In the 50s and 60s, these were two considerable roadblocks to success. Another issue he had was he wanted to be a teacher. Back then, black teachers were poorly trained and could teach only black students. Talk about the deck being stacked against you! Even his first kindergarten teacher wrote about him, “George is shy, has no initiative and no doubt won’t become much of anything.” Has any teacher ever been more wrong? Reading about George’s success will inspire, encourage, and motivate you.

Who better to inspire students to become productive citizens of society than someone who struggled and beat all the odds? George R. Hall is such a person. He overcame all the odds to become a successful and well-respected educator. His formula for success is simple. He shows the reader what it means to have a dream, remain focused on that dream, and be determined to never give up on achieving that dream. In By George, He Did It!, you will learn what it was like to be black on a college sports team. You will experience going into restaurants and only the white students being served. Learning about racial discrimination in the North might be a new experience. With God’s help, George overcame each obstacle that presented itself. This is one of the most inspiring stories I have read in a very long time.

Edith Wairimu

In his book, By George, He Did It! A True Scholar's Autobiography, George R Hall documents his inspiring journey in which he follows his heart and works toward his goal. He overcomes challenges and achieves his dream of becoming an educator. As a young boy from an impoverished background, Hall was quiet and shy in school. Based on these traits, his kindergarten teacher concluded that he lacked initiative and 'would not amount to much.' In grade six, Hall encountered a teacher who inspired him to become an educator. In January 1960, he graduated from Ohio University, the only one to attend college in his family. In his successful, five-decade-long career, he has served as a teacher, principal, educational consultant, and program director. In the book, he also covers his family life and background.

Hall’s journey is marked by many uplifting highlights and an important life lesson about beating the odds and working toward a dream regardless of the difficulties encountered. He overcomes economic hardship, racism, and unfair systems to become the first African American principal at Glendale Elementary, and more. The historical detail in the book related to education, especially the education of Black people, is informative. The account is also embellished by clear photographs that help tell the story. I loved that the book is written in a conversational style and with a touch of humor. By George, He Did It! A True Scholar's Autobiography by George R Hall is an incredible account of resilience and working toward a vision. It is a powerful read that will inspire young people to dream and not give up.

Joe Wisinski

By George, He Did It! A True Scholar's Autobiography is the story of a man who was born poor (there “wasn’t enough money” for him to go to college), but overcame poverty and other adversities to become a successful teacher and school administrator. Even his Kindergarten teacher thought that he didn’t have what it takes to become a success in life. “George is shy, has no initiative, and no doubt won’t become much of anything,” the teacher wrote. But she was wrong, or more accurately, the author, George R Hall, proved her wrong through sheer ambition, intelligence, and hard work. George’s success started early; he was named class Valedictorian for his Eighth-Grade class because he had the highest grade point average. In high school, he became both the Valedictorian and Salutatorian. He was the first in his family to go to college. George also overcame the racism of the 1950s and 1960s. He eventually became not only a teacher but an assistant principal and a school principal.

By George, He Did It! A True Scholar's Autobiography is an inspiring, uplifting book. No one could have predicted that author George R. Hall would overcome the many disadvantages he faced as a child to become a successful teacher and school administrator. This book should motivate those who also face great obstacles, pushing them on to become what they’re capable of being. For those who, like George, have already overcome big obstacles and found success, this book will remind them of how hard they worked and how proud they should be of their accomplishments. Even in retirement, George continues to work on behalf of young students, which is yet another encouragement to others who have reached that age. This book is also inspiring in the sense that it shows how people can overcome racism and how others can help with their actions. I was gratified to read about how some of his white classmates supported him and their other black teammates when a restaurant server wouldn’t let the black athletes order food. Anyone who reads this book should be encouraged about what can be done if they’re determined enough to accomplish it, especially when they have the help of others.