Of course, the city isn’t gentrifying everywhere. Some struggling sectors, such as Chicago’s Lawndale neighborhood, are still seeking modest development in the form of stores, restaurants and decent housing.
For decades a group of countercultural Christians has been developing innovative ministries in Lawndale. Lawndale Community Church was started in 1975, led by Wayne Gordon, a Wheaton College graduate who had moved to the area and started a Bible study in his home. His book Real Hope in Chicago (Zondervan) tells about the shattered windows and stolen cars of those early days. The struggles of living and working in the neighborhood tested his family’s idealism.
A. M. Stroud III, a former prosecutor in Louisiana, expresses regret for the role he played in sending Glenn Ford to death row in 1984. “I was 33 years old. I was arrogant, judgmental, narcissistic and very full of myself. I was not as interested in justice as I was in winning.” Stroud says he presented dubious evidence from a forensic pathologist, precluded black jurors from the trial (Ford, since exonerated, is black), and ignored the fact that the appointed defense attorney had never before tried a criminal or capital case. “I . . . hope that providence will have more mercy for me than I showed Glenn Ford,” Stroud said in a letter to the editor of the Times of Shreveport. “But, I’m also sobered by the realization that I certainly am not deserving of it” (ABA Journal, March 25).