If you’ve lived in Baltimore, Maryland, from the 1950’s on, you will certainly be able to relate to Hines Early’s first non-fiction book, Had I Listened. He vividly describes the hustles that were available to African-Americans to keep their heads above water back in the day.
Hines Early started out smart. At the age of 9, he schooled his young mother about a colored television she bought on time, meaning $5 per week until it was paid for. Hines figured out that the used television that she bought from a door-to-door salesman would end up costing three times what it was worth. She sent it back and they eventually bought their own outright.
Hines had jobs like cleaning out A-rabbers’ horse stables that his grandmother used for manure in her plants. A-rabbers were the entrepreneurs of their day, bringing fresh fruit, vegetables, and fresh fish daily to our doors via horse and wagon, a rare sight these days. Hines has been everything from show promoter to clothing salesmen to mail business owner. Can you imagine seeing Jackie Wilson, soul singer extraordinaire, live at the Royal Theater in Baltimore, Maryland?
Along the way, he had a few good advisors like his grandpa Steve. But, Hines was no different than we are. He chose the things he wanted to assimilate into his life from his advisors, but mostly went by his own instincts, making mistakes along the way, experimenting with various vices like gambling and drugs.
Hines can proudly say that he and his wife raised their own children and a few others with college aspirations. He came out of it all, giving back to the community. In his first book, he imparts the things he learned along the way, even after he knew. You will laugh with him and cry with him. His story was more than “interesting enough to read about”. His book was later produced as a play.
Publisher: Graphic Imaging, Inc. © Hines 2007.
Written by Rosa L. Griffin