Two men, separated by more than a century, face common challenges of hatred, prejudice, and government bureaucracy as they labor to break the chains of poverty. Tyquan Donae Morrison was born in the Dirty D projects of New Orleans to an unwed mother. TQ, as he was kwn in the hood, never knew his father and had only his brother and sister as role models. Early attempts at improving himself through education fail as the school system dumbs down the curriculum and matriculates students who never attend classes. Life in the projects emphasizes the racial divide separating the blacks from whites, creating hatred on both sides. Life changes for Tyquan when his caught shoplifting at the only general store still operating in the projects. A caring gesture by the Jewish store owner opens a whole new world to TQ as he learns about the struggles of a runaway slave. Thomas Augustus Johnson, a slave, ran away from a plantation at age sixteen and never looked back again. His personal journal recording his flight to freedom and independence provides encouragement and incentive to Tyquan a century later. Fate has placed Tyquan and Thomas on parallel paths through trials, tribulations, and racial hatred. On their journeys, both men are helped by strangers who are willing to take risks.