The background for the new book comes from an idealistic, yet not-too-common story. I am a 57-year-old white man raised in a semi-affluent neighborhood in the suburbs of Washington DC. Actually, we came from "Old Town" Alexandria, Virginia. My father was a vocationally well-connected lawyer who worked for the Commerce Department in the early 1960s. Twelve years ago I moved my family into the under-empowered neighborhood of Hard Bargain, looking for something far richer than the beautiful million dollar homes from my past or those just across the highway in the historic center of antebellum Franklin. What I found was true relationships. I’ve discovered authentic community with real people who cling to one another because they care, not because of their position in life or what they might get from each other. Hard Bargain is a historic and important place. Often over-looked and ignored, it’s the last African American owned community in Franklin.

This book is made up of stories and conversations I’ve had during my morning walks through Hard Bargain. Each chapter shows a different facet of community redevelopment and why it’s needed, highlighting a life or two along the way. Many of the stories are told or shown through the eyes of Hard Bargain residents and neighbors. But this book is about much more than a neighborhood. It’s a quest to discover and reveal the poor for who they really are, give them faces and personalities and, as a result, encourage and even equip individuals to be part of racial reconciliation and the bringing about of Biblical justice in their own communities.

We all have places like Hard Bargain just around the corner.