The son of a sharecropper, Williams headed to elementary school two years ago when he was sixty-eight. He started back in first grade, the last grade he attended before dropping out as a child in Missouri to help his family make a living.
He promised his mother then that one day he would learn to read. At sixty-eight, he found a teacher in Alesia Hamilton, a first grade teacher at Edison Elementary. Hamilton was uneasy, but she started teaching Alferd during summer school and when the school year began invited him into the classroom in the mornings to help out as a volunteer and read with the kids. She made the rounds with Alferd of talk shows (including Ellen, which helped launch a Website to help Williams build a house) noting he was a model student.
Two years later, he still is. Williams made a presentation to the kids in his school recently, explaining to them,