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Author explores path to prosperity vs. path to prison (w/audio)

By Carolina Astrain
Feb. 9, 2014 at 10:02 p.m.
Updated Feb. 9, 2014 at 8:10 p.m.


•  WHAT: Wes Moore, Lyceum Lecture Series

•  WHEN: Noon Thursday

•  WHERE: VISD Fine Arts Center, 1002 Sam Houston Drive

• COST: Free


Here's an excerpt from "The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates," detailing an exchange between the author and a man of the same name in prison for life without parole:

•  "Let me ask you a question. You come here and ask me all these questions, but you haven't shared any of yourself up with me. So tell me, what impact did your father not being there have on your childhood?" "I don't know - " I was about to say more when I realized that I didn't really have more to say. "Do you miss him?" he asked me. "Every day. All the time," I replied softly. I was having trouble finding my voice. It always amazed me how I could love so deeply, so intensely, someone I barely knew. I was taught to remember, but never question. Wes was taught to forget, and never ask why. We learned our lessons well and were showing them off to a tee. We sat there, just a few feet from each other, both silent, pondering an absence.

Source: "The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates"

Wes Moore grew up blocks away from a man of the same name, whose life was strikingly similar to his - until Moore's abrupt enrollment in military school.

In his book, "The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates," Moore chronicles the parallels that ran between the two fatherless youths.

One is in prison for life without parole; the other is a former White House Fellow, Rhodes Scholar and a business leader on Wall Street.

As part of Victoria College's Lyceum Lecture Series, Moore will be at the VISD Fine Arts Center on Thursday to share a message of inspiration and warning to today's youths.

What do you think contributed the most to your decision-making early on?

That was one of the things I wanted to explore. I don't think it was just one thing. ... I think there were a lot of factors to the decisions I made, good and bad. The importance of mentorship and having people in your life that help you see that the world is bigger than what's in front of you becomes really important. People whose jobs it is really to add context and meaning to your life. I think that becomes crucial.

From reading the book, it seems like your mother perhaps played a crucial part.

I didn't want people to feel like this was a story of a good mom vs. a bad mom. I love my mother with all my heart, but the fact is that my mother doesn't love us more than the other Wes Moore's mother loves her children. Wes' mother bleeds for her children. Wes' mother tried moving them; she tried different schools; she tried a collection of different things. I think the question then becomes not, "How do we think about the support for a young person?" but 'how do we make sure the support comes through generational support?

What message do you hope to inspire within young adults?

The goal is to help them understand that we're all here for a point ... that we're all here for a reason, and it' s part of our responsibility to identify what that is. ... You need to make sure you're living for something bigger than just yourself. If you've done that, then you've accomplished what the larger point of what education is supposed to be all about.

Is there anything you regret about your experience in military school?

I wish I would have had a better understanding and appreciation of what people sacrificed for me to get there. There are things that I did there that I regret because they weren't good, but there's nothing that I would change per se because I know even my worse decisions have made me what I am. So there are things that I regret, but there's nothing that I would change.



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