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Saturday, February 20, 2016

Black History Month and The Other Wes Moore

Although Black History Month is winding down, it doesn't disappear. It is inescapable. I'd like to share a book I had the privilege to listen to. It was read by the author and my first thought was this was not going to be a good experience. I eyed the title and read the summary and came to the conclusion that this was going to be another depressing, oppressive book about Black history. I was wrong. When the audiobook was done, the words depressing and oppressive were far from my thoughts.

Let me first share how I came to meet this book. I am attending an event for a youth group, Young Men With Power and Women With Class. This group has spent months dedicating weekends to preparing themselves for success in life through classes, trips and guest speakers. They have spent time with etiquette, public speaking, interviewing, dressing for success, trips to the White House and bonding trips for fun and much more. These young people who will be our future leaders and community servants will be proudly strutting their stuff at a celebration Gala in March. I was informed the guest speaker was an author. My antennae rose. Wes Moore is the name I was given. I admitted I didn't know him or his work.

In preparation for the Gala, I did a little research on Amazon. I checked out the book and came to the conclusion as stated above. I didn't read any of the reviews. I feel they taint my perspective of a book. I prefer to form my own opinions as I read or listen to a book. After I'm done, I then go back and read a few reviews to view other readers' experiences.

The story of the two Wes Moores is thought provoking and question raising. My first question when I finished was, is this book a mandatory read for middle school students? If it isn't, it should be and not for Black students only. Drugs do not discriminate. They don't care if you are rich, poor or middle class. They don't care what color your skin is or how well known your name is. They tramp through any culture and destroy any life.

The story encourages you to ponder the whys of the outcomes of the two lives. Is it family, sacrifices, determination, selflessness?  Is it the strength of the mother when no father is around? Tough love? When two people travel the same road and reach the junction of life changing decisions, what causes one to decide to take the right wing and the other decide to take the left?

I enjoyed the history glimpses in the book. The background of areas that I recognize such as Cherry Hill and Dundee Village. As I was growing up in Baltimore I was warned never to go to Cherry Hill. The reason given, it's a bad area. So I was in fear of it. While I was in college I gave a ride home to a classmate who lived in Cherry Hill. I drove through the area quickly with my heart pounding, my windows up and doors locked. Then there are the names of people you can identify because you voted for them or saw them on television. People who are part of today's recent history.

I would recommend this book for all young people because life is full of crossroads that will either bless you or damn you. It's better to be armed.

If you're interested in attending the Gala the information is here.

Get information about The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates

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