By Aliyah Chavez
An author, life coach and public speaker, Paul Lamar Hunter has a rare and memorable life story that he is hoping to use to inspire others.
Born 47 years ago and the 19th of 21 children in Racine, Wisconsin, Hunter was the first in his family to graduate college and write a book.
“My mother birthed 21 natural children,” Hunter says about Louise Hunter, who was married to James Hunter. “She stayed pregnant for 15 years and nine months. Just imagine the mental, emotional and physical preparation it requires to deliver 21 babies.”
His mother, nicknamed “Mother Hunter” in his 184-page, 2012 autobiography, No Love, No Charity: the Success of the 19th Child, later became the first African-American woman in Wisconsin to start a homeless shelter. The shelter was meant to be a stabilizing influence for her family and respite for the downtrodden. Instead, it was a breeding ground of dysfunction.
“I think the hardest thing that my siblings and I had to overcome that we did not have a lot of food in the house,” Hunter says. “We also did not have a lot of beds in our homes, so there were times when we had to sleep on the floor with just a blanket.”
Determined to not let his rocky life dictate his future, Hunter earned a degree in business administration from Upper Iowa University in 2012. He was the first in his maternal and paternal lineage to obtain a college degree.
“When I graduated college, my mother did not congratulate me, but I know she was delighted for me, according to my siblings,” says Hunter, who moved to Tucson July 5, 2017. “It is difficult for her to express it.
“By the way, when you come from the inner city and graduate from college, you are an outcast. If you are incarcerated and come home from serving your time, you are celebrated like a hero or celebrity. This is the mindset of the community. On the other hand, no one came to my graduation, yet I was able to persevere.”
The father of four adult children, Hunter did not stop there. He penned a memoir about his life. Hunter will begin pitching a screenplay to film producers in the fall after completing syndicated interviews around the country. He has already appeared on shows hosted by Tavis Smiley and Tom Joyner, as well as Fox and Friends.
“I am in the business of changing people’s lives with what I write or what I say,” he says. “I am a person who will build people up and not tear them down because there is so much negativity out there in our society and what people need to listen to is positive words. They need to be built up, not torn down.”
No Love, No Charity: The Success of the 19th Child is available online at Amazon or Barnes & Noble.