Here is a powerful story of a 20th century slave who rose to the rank of mayor and the young man whose life he touched. Like<Tuesdays with Morrie, in which Mitch Albom gleans wisdom from his mentor,<Finding the Goods the story of Fred Montgomery and his influence on Lucas Johnson, a young reporter who learns of the transforming power of faith and love.
Fred Montgomery, the son of sharecroppers in west Tennessee, and boyhood friend of Alex Haley, grew up in poverty, but had a faith and confidence instilled in him by his parents. Always at the mercy of white people, Fred worked hard and acquired his own farm in spite of opposition from his white neighbors. After losing two of his sons in separate drowning accidents, Fred tried twice to commit suicide. Bitter from years of frustration brought upon him by whites, Fred's attitude was changed by the sympathy and love shown to him by his neighbors, white and black alike. In 1988 he proved that faith and love can prevail by becoming the first black mayor of the once strongly segregated Henning, Tennessee.
While telling this story, the author shows glimpses of his own life, in which many of his relatives, including his own father, succumbed to the lure of alcohol and drugs. Lucas Johnson lost all hope. He had no faith; he had no love. "Years have passed," he concludes," since I first met Fred Montgomery. . . . I'm a better person because of him. His life . . . gave me a credible blueprint on how to deal with life's problems and even grow stronger from them."