He is the 19th of 21 children born to James and Louise Hunter of Racine, Wisconsin, USA and the first and only one in his family to attend college.
At age 46, Paul Lamar Hunter has also just published his first autobiography, entitled, No love, No Charity- The Success of the 19th child, in which he details his early struggles as a member of a large and poor black family, which lacked the very basics.
“We grew up dirt poor [with my] mother and father working and trying to provide for their children, but it was very difficult, because we lacked food, clothing [and] furniture,” he told Barbados TODAY.
“They were many times we had to sleep on the floor because we didn’t have adequate beds in the house. “We managed to get through because a lot of the people in the community came and gave to us beds and clothes and, I remember that during Thanksgiving they would come and drop off food off and at Christmas they would drop off toys at our home, because they knew that my mother and father were struggling with their huge family.
“I thank God for those people for helping us out during those difficult times in my family’s life,” he said.
During those tough years, Hunter mostly looked forward to Sunday lunch because it was the one time he was assured of a big meal.
“It reminds me of the movie Soul Food because every Sunday we had this huge meal. We used to invite the pastors and [members] from the church to come and eat with the family and my mom and father used to be in the kitchen interacting with each other and the kids and cooking a healthy Sunday meal,” he said.
The 19th child, as he refers to himself, went on to defy the odds by becoming the only person in his family to graduate from college. In 2012, he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Upper Iowa University.
In his book, Hunter also speaks about how he personally overcame the thinking that he could not achieve success, to finally achieving success.
“My book details my family life, the ups and the downs, and how I overcame looking at my circumstances thinking that I could not achieve success because no one in my family had done it,” he said.
Despite her own struggles at home, his mother Louise, who has survived her husband and four of their children, was very focused on helping others through a homeless shelter, which she founded. In the book, Hunter also details his experiences at the shelter, which was supposed to be a haven for the downtrodden, but became “a breeding ground for dysfunction and despondency”.
Nevertheless, Hunter, who has no real links to Barbados, hopes that his book, which is available on Amazon, can serve as an inspiration to young people here.