here is an American tragedy. A tale of two cities. One ugly. One pretty. It is the story of life and also loss on the other side of the tracks. An American story. One being written daily by news media but often only cursorily as stories of murder, poverty and social decay. But it is more complex story for those who dwell behind the invisible walls of the American Mainstream in neighborhoods where life is fragile and violence an intractable squatter. A place where life can be hard and plain. Where bullets too often rain but where life, love and hope form a wellspring.

Theirs is a story of joy and pain. It is a soul’s song—told in this book through the lens of John W. Fountain, a Chicago native son and veteran journalist who grew up on the West Side, where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his family once lived during his campaign to help the poor.

This book, in one sense, is an urban opera set in the key of life. One that sings of the ancestral past, of the present and of future struggles, of the triumphs and glories of a people but also of their fears, of the strain, drain and consequence upon their souls.

The Chicago Tribune has written of Fountain’s work: It is “stirring, searing poetry of John Fountain, whose pungent words” give “focus and force” and speak of “the cultural glories that African Americans gave to Chicago and the world.”

An award-winning writer and former New York Times national correspondent, John W. Fountain is a contemporary psalmist, born and bred in poverty and redeemed by faith, hope and clarity. “Soul Cries: In Black & White & Shades of Gray” is his inspirational song.

It is a song—a story—that emanates from a place where the voices of those who dwell there often are not heard. We all need to hear them. John W. Fountain presents them in a compelling unforgettable literary song we won’t soon forget.

WestSide Press