Our Diverse Heritage: Marion’s Black History Part 14

Celebrating Black History Month in Marion County

Part 14: Greg Hinton, J.D.

When I joined the faculty of the Fairmont State College of Business in 2019, I was able to renew an old friendship with Dr. Greg Hinton, senior professor of business law. He has been a professor for over 35 years and a role model of professionalism. Dr. Hinton is humble as to his accolades, which are the most academic and achievement awards that I have ever seen one person earn. This is a focus on his role as a resolute educator/advocate and his many contributions—to students, to the community, to those seeking his professional advice, and also to the many collegiate peers he interacts with daily.

Dr. Hinton has a love for teaching. In his courses in business law and leadership, he is early to arrive for class and prepared. He engages students in discussions on legal process and future challenges for his early careerists. He orchestrates his leadership class with constructive interaction. Dr. Hinton has been an invaluable advisor to me in conducting research in early West Virginia history.

The story of Alfred Meade had many puzzling newspaper accounts and court record snippets of an 1868 trial in Clarksburg. As I put gathered newspaper stories, there were information gaps—how did a former slave challenge a former governor of Virginia in a court dispute over money owed to the black man? Dr. Hinton connected the research on many levels as I shared copies of handwritten court summaries and articles. First, he said it was a Civil Rights case though it had started as a contract dispute. The fact that the decision (against Meade) was based on the color of his skin made it a Civil Rights issue, he explained. Further research found that this truly was a landmark case as public sources attributed this to much later cases. Dr. Hinton also understood the relationships of Francis Pierpont to Meade (discussed in earlier blogs), as that same year, he would aid Meade and a group of black men to get a loan to purchase a lot for the first school for black children. Pierpont’s friendship with Wheeling newspaper editor Archibald Campbell was pointed out by Dr. Hinton. Campbell opposed slavery and was also the only newspaper publisher in Virginia to endorse Abraham Lincoln for president in 1860. Campbell’s coverage of the trial was carried nationwide.

So much of our own local history is important to our own state and country, but it must be documented. “Black History is American History,” he states emphatically.

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