This is the eye-opening true story of Ron Hall, a white Plantation owner’s son, and Denver Moore, a black present-day slave who are brought together by Ron’s wife. Both sides were told in this story–each man has their own alternating chapters.
Denver was raised in Red Parrish, Louisiana. His grandmother, who raised him, died in a fire when he was a little boy. Denver was also dragged with a rope by 3 white boys when, as a teenager, he stopped to help a white woman change her tire. She did nothing to stop the attack except to stand still and look pretty.
In the 1960’s, Denver was a Louisiana sharecropper who owned only one set of clothes—the ones on his back—and had been working unpaid for 20 years since he was a child. All food, clothing, animals, equipment, seeds, etc. were bought on credit—enough to get you through a year–so a black sharecropper would owe the plantation owner for the rest of his life.
“That ain’t no bad life if the labor is for your own land,” Denver said. He couldn’t read, had no radio, car, telephone, plumbing, nor electricity. Sharecroppers lived in corrugated shacks with no windows. Holes in the floors were covered with boards and tin can lids. Women made their own dresses out of flour sacks. Denver wasn’t even aware that there had been a World War II, the Korean War, or the Vietnam War.
Denver was not paid except for maybe a few coins and a lunch meat sandwich at the end of the day, but the white sharecroppers were paid and fed at the plantation owners’ table. Denver received a few dollars maybe 5-6 times per year and two hogs. With progress and inventions, plantation owners didn’t need as many workers, so they put some of the blacks off the lands they had been working all their lives. He wasn’t told that he had the right to attend colored schools, learn a trade, join the army, own money, or respect. Denver was in that class of people who were never given civil rights. Denver finally got free of the system by hopping a train bound for California and lived by any means necessary.
Ron Hall was basically raised by his grandfather because his father was a drunk. Ron was a white plantation owner’s son who went to college (where he met his wife) and worked in investment banking. Then, he discovered art dealing which made him rich. His wife, Debbie, feared missing the calling of God, so she convinced her husband to start going to missions to feed the homeless in Fort Worth, Texas—where they met and eventually became friends with Denver and many other homeless people.
If not for this book, I would never have known what a Louisiana sharecropper in recent decades went through. It reminds me of the movie, Sounder, where black poverty abounded in a similar situation.
Same Kind of Different as Me: A Modern-Day Slave, an International Art Dealer, and the Unlikely Woman Who Bound Them Together, co-written by Ron Hall and Denver Moore, with Lynn Vincent, published by Thomas Nelson, 2006. Was made into a film in 2017 by Michael Carney.
Sharecropping—Slavery by Another Name—Bento—PBS
Written by Rosa Griffin