In America, the fastest-growing high school, collegiate and post-graduate demographic is not only girls, but girls by an overwhelming margin. For Wes Moore, when it comes to today’s young men, these numbers cannot be ignored.
What does it mean to “become a man”? That is the question New York Times best-selling author and veteran, Wes…
They came of age in the same neighborhood of the same city, both spent time in the juvenile criminal justice system, both had behavioral problems. They were both fatherless. But the two young men named Wes Moore would ultimately follow completely different paths — one became a Rhodes Scholar, a White House fellow and a decorated veteran. The other would spend life in prison for murder.
Wes Moore discovered his own name in a headline in The Baltimore Sun, referring to a suspect in a jewelry store murder. After the suspect was convicted, Moore wrote him a letter, asking the man why he committed the crime. What followed were many more letters, which turned into prison visits, which formed the basis of Moore’s book, The Other Wes Moore.
In 2010, an estimated number of 1.6 million juveniles were arrested, according to the United States Department of Justice. That’s almost the same number as the entire population of Philadelphia, the fifth-largest city in the country.
Wes Moore, a New York Times best-selling author and veteran of the U.S. Army, will speak on criminal justice, with a focus on juvenile crime, at 10:45 a.m. today in the Amphitheater.
Two boys named Wes Moore grew up to have two very different fates: one an Army combat veteran, youth advocate, author and TV show host, the other a criminal. The two boys grew up in similar situations but made different choices about where their lives would go.
Wes Moore’s second book, Discovering Wes Moore, takes the author back through the process of finding the man whose name he shared, the man who was convicted of killing a police officer during a theft at a jewelry store. Moore will discuss his book with the Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle Young Readers at 4:15 p.m. today in the Alumni Hall Ballroom.
Week Six at Chautauqua examines the U.S. criminal justice system — what works, what doesn’t, how effective it is and how it compares to others around the world — with lectures on the theme “Crime and Punishment.”
The Other Wes Moore is the story of two men with the same name. Their tales are similar: raised by a single mother, hung out in tough crowds on the streets of Baltimore, got in trouble with the police.
“The chilling truth is that his story could have been mine,” Moore said in the introduction to The Other Wes Moore. “The tragedy is that my story could have been his. … It’s unsettling to know how little separates each of us from another life altogether.”
Moore will discuss The Other Wes Moore at 3:30 p.m. today in the Hall of Philosophy. This is his first visit to Chautauqua.
The 2012 Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle books follow two themes: the weekly morning lecture platform and their own season-long “characters.”
“We try very hard to have a group of books that reflect different genres, and a variety of authors, and to offer books that Chautauquans can connect to the weekly theme,” said Sherra Babcock, director of the Department of Education. “In addition, this year’s ‘vertical theme,’ connecting all the books, is ‘characters,’ reflecting writing with strong character development.”