The New York Times bestselling author of Writing My Wrongs invites men everywhere on a journey of honesty and healing through this book of moving letters to his sons—one whom he is raising and the other whose childhood took place during Senghor's nineteen-year incarceration.
“A visceral and visual journey for the ages . . . the perfect road map for us to remove the barriers and obstacles against our true feelings.”—Kenya Barris, creator of black-ish
ONE OF THE MOST ANTICIPATED BOOKS OF 2022—Essence
Shaka Senghor has lived the life of two fathers. With his first son, Jay, born shortly after Senghor was incarcerated for second-degree murder, he experienced the regret of his own mistakes and the disconnection caused by a society that sees Black lives as disposable. With his second, Sekou, born after Senghor's release, he has experienced healing, transformation, intimacy, and the possibilities of a world where men and boys can openly show one another affection, support, and love.
In this collection of beautifully written letters to Jay and Sekou, Senghor traces his journey as a Black man in America and unpacks the toxic and misguided messages about masculinity, mental health, love, and success that boys learn from an early age. He issues a passionate call to all fathers and sons—fathers who don't know how to show their sons love, sons who are navigating a fatherless world, boys who have been forced to grow up before their time—to cultivate positive relationships with other men, seek healing, tend to mental health, grow from pain, and rewrite the story that has been told about them.
Letters to the Sons of Society is a soulful examination of the bond between father and sons, and a touchstone for anyone seeking a kinder, more just world.
Criminal justice activist Senghor (Writing My Wrongs) explores in these raw and intimate letters to his two sons themes of masculinity, fatherhood, trauma, and redemption. Convicted of murder at age 19, Senghor spent nearly 20 years behind bars. He describes meeting his older son, Jay, for the first time in prison ("there you were, just ten months old, a beautiful brown ball of curiosity and energy"); the mistakes he made when he was finally released and "showed up as a mentor, not a father"; and the wake-up call that came when he mistakenly believed that Jay had been murdered. Addressing his younger son, Sekou, Senghor reflects on how Black men in America are seen "as trouble or danger or a problem to solve." Elsewhere, he recounts a visit to San Quentin's death row, and admits to using sex to help "fill the void" he felt during his first five years out of prison, when publicizing his first book meant being "repeatedly dragged back into my worst experiences, reopening and revisiting profound traumas with no idea how to process them." Shot through with evocative language and openhearted authenticity, this is a memorable tribute to the pain and joy of Black fatherhood.