Out of Ashes
List Price: 25.99
Available: January 2014
It is 1963, in Binningham, Alabama. During this racially charged period in ”the most segregated city in the United States,” Peg James, a beautiful, educated young black woman from Ohio, relocates to Birmingham to supervise the household and ground staffs of her employers, Dr and Mrs. Garson. Peg and the Garson family move into a stately home in an elite neighborhood, next door to a man Robert Carson believes is his biological brother, Ken Stevens. Having been adopted and sent North by parents who were unable to fully support their family during the Great Depression, Dr. Carson unwittingly returns to a South divided by race and a brother deeply involved in the politics of hate. Ken Stevens, a Birmingham district attorney and Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, wages a war of terror against blacks in Birmingham and quickly singles out Peg as his personal target for rape and humiliation. Tending to a garden where she uses ashes to grow an array of beautiful flowers, Peg enlists the help of a precocious young black girl and the ailing son of her tormentor. Peg’s emotional battle to survive is like her beautiful garden—-only showing the beauty on the surface, but not the ashes underneath. In spite of her fear, Peg finds herself becoming entangled with a man she is forbidden to love. Her secrets can never be revealed because she must protect the lives of the people she holds dear, including the young Klan member who risks everything to fall in love with her.
Not long ago, I found myself without a job; laid off twice in a short period of time. No shelter, no food, and no money to survive. No address, either, and that meant no unemployment benefits! Too ashamed to tell family and friends, I lost everything and started living under a bridge. Who me? I had worked hard all my life helping others. I served my country in the United States Navy for eight years and now I’m homeless? I thought it couldn’t last, but after five weeks, it was starting to seem like an eternity. I was becoming more and more desperate; a prisoner, engulfed by my surroundings. Other homeless men and women had opened their imaginary doors to depression, prostitution, mental illness, drugs, and alcoholism. I feared that one day soon, some evil spirit would find its way to me and come knocking on my imaginary door. I remember one night crying my heart out. I felt like I was drowning in an ocean of tears. I kept telling myself I didn’t want to continue living like this anymore. I was dirty, tired, and weak. Life can really knock you down hard! Then, later that night I finally heard the knocking on my imaginary door. The thing that I had feared came rushing in, and it came for one reason only. I had never met this demon before, but I knew him immediately. He was the spirit of suicide! He looked at me and said, “No one cares for you. You are nothing!” I reached for a razor, ready to do the unthinkable. Even as I thought of all my loved ones, I knew at that precise moment I was all alone in the world. A tear fell down my cheek. My time had come, but something about the headlights and noise of passingcars on the toll way above distracted me. Was this really happening? I reached back with everything I had left and begged God to help me. “HOPE. I COULDNT LOSE SIGHT OF IT. FAITH IS THE THING HOPED FOR; THE EVIDENCE OF THINGS NOT SEEN.” The spirit of suicide looked at me, puzzled, as I began to laugh uncontrollably. At that moment, God began to renew my mind, body, and soul. The spirit no longer had power over me. I looked up and there she was-the person from the car with the headlights. She helped me up and took me into her home, where I was soon able to stand on my own. She was the angel that God sent to save me. What a difference a day can make, whether good or bad. From that day forward, I have never looked back. I hope this story inspires you.