PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Just in time for Black History Month, one local author is sharing some history with children and families from all over.
Willie Spears wrote a book on his great-great-grandfather, Hawk Massalina, whose family is well known to the Panama City community.
The book ‘Who is Hawk Massalina’ came out at the end of 2020, by local author and motivational speaker Willie Spears. Spears says growing up he would always do his school projects on Massalina, his great-great-grandfather.
“Hawk was everything you could think he was. He was a father, a son, a husband, an inventor, a preacher, a writer, an engineer, a builder, he was a master fisherman too,” said Spears.
The book tells the story of the life of Massalina and many of his accomplishments.
“First of all he lived to be 107 years old, that’s an accomplishment in itself. He built this church were standing in, not this actual one because the original one was at Redfish Point,” said Spears.
Even mentioning the house where his great-great-grandfather took his last breath, after serving the Panama City community for over 100 years.
“The good thing about this book, it will outlive me. And my children and children’s children will get to read about their great great great great grandfather,” said Spears.
Eventually becoming a single father of 8 children after his wife passed, Hawk Massalina was also a soldier, on both sides of the civil war.
Spear’s book tells of Massalina being a huge advocate for equality.
“It talked about how they fought against bigotry, how they said we need to live together in harmony– even in the 1800s. So hawk would want us to get along with everyone- people who are like us and people who aren’t like us,” said Spears.
Spears hopes by writing this book that his relatives’ legacy lives on forever.
You can pre-order ‘Who is Hawk Massalina’ here.