Mrs. Minnie Mabry Hill was a forceful public figure and an important leader in the civil rights movement. She is known as the First Lady of San Antonio Civil Rights. She carried on her husband Oliver W. Hill Jr.’s dream of making San Antonio and America a better place, where all people have equal rights.
Early Friday morning, May 4, 2018, Minnie Hill passed away at 74.
I became fond of Minnie as we served on the San Antonio NAACP, 2012 Freedom Fund Committee together. The Freedom Fund Banquet is the major fundraising event for all branches of the NAACP. Our supporters' contributions and donations allowed us to offer valuable workshops, scholarships and activities for our youth and adult membership as well as for the larger community that we serve. It also makes it possible for our branches to have representation at state, regional, and national conferences where members receive important information and training that promote civil rights and justice for all.
While working with Minnie and the entire committee I learned a lot. As chair of the
Publicity Committee, Minnie taught me what processes to disregard and what people in San Antonio to connect with. When I got into really tough situations she guided me and I learned to communicate more effectively. With each lesson and accomplishments we achieved, my adoration of Minnie grew stronger. I learned she was the true first lady of the NAACP. She would meet each person with a smile, and she communicated with her eyes to her husband. They set the example of how a couple should communicate.
That year, Minnie was the Chair of the Decorations Committee. Minnie led a team, that set the tone for the entire evening. I remember walking into the ballroom before any of our guests arrived and being in awe of Minnie’s vision and work. The sheer elegance of blending the NAACP’s color of blue and gold, centerpieces, and beautiful flowers. She made sure that our distinguished guest table protocol was on point. Minnie taught us that looking the part was just as important as being the part.
Minnie made sure the atmosphere was set.
Minnie knew all the “Who’s Who of San Antonio” attends the Freedom Banquet. For social, political or economic issues that needed to be addressed, this event is the annual gathering where we all come together to get an update on the status and connected bridges to close the gaps.
I remember meeting the former Mayor of San Antonio, Julián Castro who would go on that year to deliver the keynote address at a Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. He would go on to become Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Barack Obama from 2014 to 2017. Minnie recognized the importance of Mayor Castro and she gave him all of her support as a friend of the NAACP.
We met his brother, U.S. Congressional candidate Joaquín Castro, who would go on to become the U.S. Congressional Representative for Texas's 20th congressional district in 2013. In 2014, I found myself advocating for San Antonio African-American business owners in the Congressman’s office, in large part because of the introduction Minnie Hill provided through the NAACP San Antonio Branch.
Most importantly, Mrs. Minnie Mabry Hill stood by her husband, Oliver W. Hill, President, San Antonio NAACP. Minnie encouraged, supported, and inspired Oliver. The love they had for each other was reflected in their commitment to the movement. Minnie kept Oliver on point, she filled in the gaps with information dissemination. When the critic's voice grew loud and the racial hatred kept Oliver from sleeping at night, it was Minnie, who was always there telling Oliver that he was loved and that he was a strong man who could take on the world.
A King’s true Queen.
I was so looking forward to returning home this summer for the 109th NAACP convention in San Antonio this July and hugging Mrs. Minnie Hill one more time. I wanted her to see me again, not just as a member of the NAACP, but this time as the 1st Vice President of the Raleigh-Apex NAACP out of North Carolina. I wanted to bring her joy, as I am a by product of her Love..
The seeds she planted grew. Not only for me, but for the entire city of San Antonio. Justice prevails in part, because of the handy work of Minnie Hill. My best friend, Christopher Herring wrote on social media that Minnie Hill’s life was reflective of a Proverbs 31 woman. He was 100% correct. The scripture says about Minnie Hill, starting at verse 10:
10 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.
11 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.
12 She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.
13 She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.
14 She is like the merchants' ships; she bringeth her food from afar.
15 She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.
16 She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.
17 She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.
18 She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.
19 She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.
20 She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.
22 She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.
24 She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.
25 Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.
26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.
27 She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.
29 Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.
30 Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.
I am forever indebted to Mrs. Minnie Mabry Hill, our First Lady of San Antonio Civil Rights Movement.