NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • An “extraordinary, unforgettable” (Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow) memoir of redemption and second chances amidst America’s mass incarceration epidemic, from a member of Oprah’s SuperSoul 100
Shaka Senghor was raised in a middle-class neighborhood on Detroit’s east side during the height of the 1980s crack epidemic. An honor roll student and a natural leader, he dreamed of becoming a doctor—but at age eleven, his parents’ marriage began to unravel, and beatings from his mother worsened, which sent him on a downward spiral. He ran away from home, turned to drug dealing to survive, and ended up in prison for murder at the age of nineteen, full of anger and despair.
Writing My Wrongs is the story of what came next. During his nineteen-year incarceration, seven of which were spent in solitary confinement, Senghor discovered literature, meditation, self-examination, and the kindness of others—tools he used to confront the demons of his past, forgive the people who hurt him, and begin atoning for the wrongs he had committed. Upon his release at age thirty-eight, Senghor became an activist and mentor to young men and women facing circumstances like his. His work in the community and the courage to share his story led him to fellowships at the MIT Media Lab and the Kellogg Foundation and invitations to speak at events like TED and the Aspen Ideas Festival.
In equal turns, Writing My Wrongs is a page-turning portrait of life in the shadow of poverty, violence, and fear; an unforgettable story of redemption; and a compelling witness to our country’s need for rethinking its approach to crime, prison, and the men and women sent there.
In this inspiring book that gives hope for those who believe in the redemption of the incarcerated, Senghor, having served a lengthy sentence after pleading guilty to second-degree murder, proves to be the exception to the rule that the majority of ex-cons return to prison. His story is not the usual ghetto tale, the author being from a middle-class neighborhood on Detroit's East Side, an honor roll student with physician dreams, until his parents bitterly part and constant maternal beatings force him into the streets. As an emotionally troubled teen, he teams with major crack dealers, smoking the drug, eventually finding himself in several Michigan lock-ups. "Being in prison and stripped of your freedom is painful and degrading and each day is a fight to maintain your sanity," Senghor writes. Energized by a letter from his young son and access to a large prison library, he questions his identity, purpose, and faith, becoming a writer and mentor to inmates. It is these piercing vignettes in this remarkable book that demonstrates Senghor's resilience and determination to reclaim his life as a citizen, author, motivational speaker, and a Fellow at the MIT Media Lab and Kellogg Foundation.
Writing My Wrong!
Intriguing and Jaw dropping!
Such amazing detail
This story has so many lessons, it was a true joy to read. It was emotional and hit home because I have the same hope for my city. Amazing work
I read this in 3 days! Very well written and transformative