Read the critically acclaimed #1 New York Times best-seller with more than one million copies in print. Same Kind of Different as Me was a major motion picture by Paramount in fall 2017.
Gritty with pain and betrayal and brutality, this true story also shines with an unexpected, life-changing love.
Meet Denver, raised under plantation-style slavery in Louisiana until he escaped the “Man” – in the 1960’s – by hopping a train. Non-trusting, uneducated, and violent, he spent another 18 years on the streets of Dallas and Fort Worth.
Meet Ron Hall, a self-made millionaire in the world of high priced art deals -- concerned with fast cars, beautiful women, and fancy clothes.
And the woman who changed their lives -- Miss Debbie: “The skinniest, nosiest, pushiest, woman I ever met, black or white.” She helped the homeless and gave of herself to all of “God’s People,” and had a way of knowing how to listen and helping others talk and be found – until cancer strikes.
Same Kind of Different as Me is a tale told in two unique voices – Ron Hall & Denver Moore – weaving two completely different life experiences into one common journey where both men learn “whether we is rich or poor or something in between this earth ain’t no final restin’ place. So in a way, we is all homeless-just workin’ our way toward home.
The story takes a devastating twist when Deborah discovers she has cancer. Will Deborah live or die? Will Denver learn to trust a white man? Will Ron embrace his dying wife's vision to rescue Denver? Or will Denver be the one rescuing Ron? There's pain and laughter, doubt and tears, and in the end a triumphal story that readers will never forget.
Continue this story of friendship in What Difference Do It Make?: Stories of Hope and Healing, available now. Same Kind of Different as Me also is available in Spanish.
Ron Hall has dedicated much of the last ten years of his life to speaking on behalf of, and raising money for, the homeless. Formerly an international art dealer, Ron is a #1 New York Times bestselling author and writer/producer of the Paramount/Pure Flix film Same Kind of Different as Me. A Texas Christian University graduate, Ron was honored in 2017 with the Distinguished Alumni Award. In addition to traveling and speaking, Ron and his wife, Beth, run the Same Kind of Different as Me foundation (SKODAM.org), which meets emergency needs for those who are less fortunate.
Denver Moore served as a volunteer at the Fort Worth Union Gospel Mission until his death in March 2012.
Lynn Vincent is the New York Times best-selling writer ofHeaven Is for Real and Same Kind of Different As Me. The author or coauthor of ten books, Lynn has sold 12 million copies since 2006. She worked for eleven years as a writer and editor at the national news biweekly WORLD magazine and is a U.S. Navy veteran.
Until Miss Debbie, I'd never spoke to no white woman before. Just answered a few questions, maybe-it wadn't really speakin. And to me, even that was mighty risky since the last time I was fool enough to open my mouth to a white woman, I wound up half-dead and nearly blind.
I was maybe fifteen, sixteen years old, walkin down the red dirt road that passed by the front of the cotton plantation where I lived in Red River Parish, Louisiana. The plantation was big and flat, like a whole lotta farms put together with a bayou snakin all through it. Cypress trees squatted like spiders in the water, which was the color of pale green apples. There was a lotta different fields on that spread, maybe a hundred, two hundred acres each, lined off with hardwood trees, mostly pecans.
Wadn't too many trees right by the road, though, so when I was walkin that day on my way back from my auntie's house-she was my grandma's sister on my daddy's side-I was right out in the open. Purty soon, I seen this white lady standin by her car, a blue Ford, 'bout a 1950, '51 model, somethin like that. She was standin there in her hat and her skirt, like maybe she'd been to town. Looked to me like she was tryin to figure out how to fix a flat tire. So I stopped.
"You need some help, ma'am?"
"Yes, thank you," she said, lookin purty grateful to tell you the truth. "I really do."
I asked her did she have a jack, she said she did, and that was all we said.
Well, 'bout the time I got the tire fixed, here come three white boys ridin outta the woods on bay horses. They'd been huntin, I think, and they come trottin up and didn't see me 'cause they was in the road and I was ducked down fixin the tire on the other side of the car. Red dust from the horses' tracks floated up over me. First, I got still, thinkin I'd wait for em to go on by. Then I decided I didn't want em to think I was hidin, so I started to stand up. Right then, one of em asked the white lady did she need any help.
"I reckon not!" a redheaded fella with big teeth said when he spotted me. "She's got a nigger helpin her!"
Another one, dark-haired and kinda weasel-lookin, put one hand on his saddle horn and pushed back his hat with the other. "Boy, what you doin' botherin this nice lady?"
He wadn't nothin but a boy hisself, maybe eighteen, nineteen years old. I didn't say nothin, just looked at him.
"What you lookin' at, boy?" he said and spat in the dirt.
The other two just laughed. The white lady didn't say nothin, just looked down at her shoes. 'Cept for the horses chufflin, things got quiet. Like the yella spell before a cyclone. Then the boy closest to me slung a grass rope around my neck, like he was ropin a calf. He jerked it tight, cuttin my breath. The noose poked into my neck like burrs, and fear crawled up through my legs into my belly.
I caught a look at all three of them boys, and I remember thinkin none of em was much older'n me. But their eyes was flat and mean.
"We gon' teach you a lesson about botherin white ladies," said the one holdin the rope. That was the last thing them boys said to me.
I don't like to talk much 'bout what happened next, 'cause I ain't lookin for no pity party. That's just how things was in Louisiana in those days. Mississippi, too, I reckon, since a coupla years later, folks started tellin the story about a young colored fella named Emmett Till who got beat till you couldn't tell who he was no more. He'd whistled at a white woman, and some other good ole boys-seemed like them woods was full of em-didn't like that one iota. They beat that boy till one a' his eyeballs fell out, then tied a cotton-gin fan around his neck and throwed him off a bridge into the Tallahatchie River. Folks says if you was to walk across that bridge today, you could still hear that drowned young man cryin out from the water.
There was lots of Emmett Tills, only most of em didn't make the news. Folks says the bayou in Red River Parish is full to its pea-green brim with the splintery bones of colored folks that white men done fed to the gators for covetin their women, or maybe just lookin cross-eyed. Wadn't like it happened ever day. But the chance of it, the threat of it, hung over the cotton fields like a ghost.
I worked them fields for nearly thirty years, like a slave, even though slavery had supposably ended when my grandma was just a girl. I had a shack I didn't own, two pairs a' overalls I got on credit, a hog, and a outhouse. I worked them fields, plantin and plowin and pickin and givin all the cotton to the Man that owned the land, all without no paycheck. I didn't even know what a paycheck was.
It might be hard for you to imagine, but I worked like that while the seasons rolled by from the time I was a little bitty boy, all the way past the time that president named Kennedy got shot dead in Dallas.
All them years, there was a freight train that used to roll through Red River Parish on some tracks right out there by Highway 1. Ever day, I'd hear it whistle and moan, and I used to imagine it callin out about the places it could take me ... like New York City or Detroit, where I heard a colored man could get paid, or California, where I heard nearly everbody that breathed was stackin up paper money like flapjacks. One day, I just got tired a' bein poor. So I walked out to Highway 1, waited for that train to slow down some, and jumped on it. I didn't get off till the doors opened up again, which happened to be in Fort Worth, Texas. Now when a black man who can't read, can't write, can't figger, and don't know how to work nothin but cotton comes to the big city, he don't have too many of what white folks call "career opportunities." That's how come I wound up sleepin on the streets.
I ain't gon' sugarcoat it: The streets'll turn a man nasty. And I had been nasty, homeless, in scrapes with the law, in Angola prison, and homeless again for a lotta years by the time I met Miss Debbie. I want to tell you this about her: She was the skinniest, nosiest, pushiest woman I had ever met, black or white.
She was so pushy, I couldn't keep her from finding out my name was Denver. She investigated till she found it out on her own. For a long time, I tried to stay completely outta her way. But after a while, Miss Debbie got me to talkin 'bout things I don't like to talk about and tellin things I ain't never told nobody-even about them three boys with the rope. Some of them's the things I'm fixin to tell you.
Excerpted from same kind of different as me by RON HALL DENVER MOORE LYNN VINCENT Copyright © 2007 by Ron Hall. Excerpted by permission.
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